IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Law School Opens Doors on New Era
The new Wolf Law building opened its doors this month, marking the culmination of a historic effort by students, faculty, alumni and donors to design, fund and construct a state-of-the-art facility for the University of Colorado Law School. When a state budget crisis threatened the future of the building in 2002, law students came together and successfully worked with the University of Colorado Student Union toward the passage of one of the first student capital construction fees in the history of public universities, which—combined with substantial private support—made it possible for construction of the building to move forward.
"Our sense of community made this law school building possible," said Dean David Getches, "The new building is a testament to the students of Colorado Law and their notable understanding of civic engagement, as well as to all those who came forward with their support."
The exterior of the building features the signature Tuscan vernacular style of the Boulder campus, including locally quarried sandstone walls and a red-tiled roof, with unique elements to emphasize the law school's western heritage. Sculptures of pinecones adorn some of the building's windows, and a courtyard in front of the building features a fountain fronting a wall with a stone carving of tall grass and the mountains of the Front Range. On the fountain a quotation from John Wesley Powell reads: "We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore."
The interior of the building further reflects the school's identity as a western law school, with rough-cut timber beams, iron strips over doorways, extensive stonework throughout, and a dramatic ceramic tile mural that depicts Colorado's environmental, industrial and cultural history.
"We want our students to remember they're in the West," said Getches. "This is a very old law school. We've been around for 114 years, and our origins are very western. A lot of great water lawyers, mining lawyers and natural resources lawyers came through here, so it's quite appropriate to have these messages throughout the building."
With the new building—which also features the latest classroom technology, two state-of-the-art courtrooms, and the largest law library in the Rocky Mountain West—set to kick off a new era, the law school is now focused on growing scholarship funding, endowed faculty chairs and support for special programs like the Silicon Flatirons Telecommunications Program, the Natural Resources Law Center, the Juvenile and Family Law Program and the Energy and Environmental Security Initiative (EESI).
"The building is the launching point for our history moving forward," said Julie Levine, director of development for the law school. "Now we're getting ready to begin our next campaign, which will focus on endowments for student scholarships, faculty chairs and program support."
"The building is wonderful," said Dean Getches, "but what happens in it is more important."
A dedication of the building will take place on Sept. 8. For more information, visit the web site.
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