Georgia State University cuts ribbon to new law building
A group of Georgia’s political heavies and university officials cut the ribbon Sept. 9 to formally welcome students and staff to Georgia State’s new College of Law building.
Although the new law school’s location has been up and running since late June, Dean of Law Steven Kaminshine said school officials decided to postpone the ribbon-cutting ceremony until the construction team could complete the finishing touches. Plus they needed to synchronize the schedules of the governor, mayor and other of Atlanta’s top dogs to attend.
Georgia State President Mark Becker said this development has moved the university’s class of law students from their “sub-par facilities” to what Georgia’s Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson called “the place to be.”
This $82.5 million complex grants the College of Law its own building for the first time since its inception more than three decades ago. The building contains office space, classrooms, a few eateries and a new-and-improved law library.
Prior to the new laws school’s first operating semester this summer, the college had filled its previous home to the brim.
“We [were] literally out of space,” Kaminshine told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We [couldn’t] add one more faculty member. It’s time for a school with our trajectory to have a building that is commensurate with our reputation.”
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the college’s new setting will better allow Panthers to make a lasting impact on the city, should they choose to stick around after graduation.
“The city of Atlanta and the entire metropolitan region receives immeasurable benefits from Georgia State University’s College of Law,” he said. “Year in and year out, GSU trains and prepares a new wave of great litigators, legal scholars and thinkers.”
Becker said there has been a national decline in law school applications. But as the economy recovers from the 2008 recession, Georgia State may see an uptick in applicants in coming years.
“We’re ideally positioned for the comeback of the recession,” he said.
But even the recession couldn’t balk the law school’s past accomplishments.
“Georgia State now has the highest bar passage rate in the state of Georgia by a comfortable margin,” Becker said.
And Georgia State’s Student Government Association Senator Jovan Paige said the “state-of-the-art facility” is also more inclusive than its predecessor.
“There’s a study room that’s open to all Georgia State students,” he said.
Additionally, the College of Law will soon establish a center for international conflict resolution, which Kaminshine expects will become a defining factor in the city’s mission to “address the leading issues of our day.”
“We are indeed a public law school,” he said. “Our publicness helps to define who we are. It’s who we are and it is the catalyst for… our faculty’s work with the Georgia Assembly, our clinical programs for the underserved and our newly established Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation.”
Chancellor to the USG Board of Regents Hank Huckaby said the construction of this building is indicative of the constant evolution of Georgia State.
“I’m a graduate of Georgia State,” he said. “There is no comparison of the university today to the university then. The Board of Regents [has] proved this law school was a turning point for the future of the institution.”