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Lawyers Club Renovation to Provide New Spaces and Upgrades for Residents

By Lori Atherton

When the Lawyers Club reopens in fall 2013, residents will experience more than renovated living spaces. They'll also have an opportunity to gather in 11 new corridor lounges, or Club Rooms, that are designed to foster community and camaraderie within the housing complex.

The lounges, said Lawyers Club Director Diane Nafranowicz, support the idea of each residence floor mimicking a neighborhood, "where students can gather for studying, watching a movie, or making a spaghetti dinner on a Saturday night." Each lounge is slightly different, though many include an ice machine, kitchenette, flat-screen TV, and other amenities.

Residents also will enjoy use of the main Club building, which houses a laundry facility, recreational room, the Lawyers Club Lounge, the dining room, and the main service desk. The main desk provides a variety of services to residents, including signing for packages, ordering repairs, and collecting messages. The dining room is the location for the Club's 12-meal-per-week board contract.

"The Lawyers Club is designed with the intention of making law school, particularly the 1L year, successful," Nafranowicz said. "Our goal is to support the academic goals of students in a pleasant, supportive environment. By maximizing community and minimizing distractions, services such as the board contract remove the need to shop, cook, or clean up after meals."

View the architect's blueprint of the renovated Lawyers Club.

The Lawyers Club renovation began in May 2012, and is made possible in part thanks to a $20 million gift from Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charles T. Munger, which will pay for the majority of a renovation project inside the Lawyers Club housing complex. In honor of Munger's donation, the north wing of the Lawyers Club will be called the Charles T. Munger Residence. The east wing will retain its name—the John P. Cook Building—in honor of the father of William W. Cook, the original donor of the Lawyers Club and other Law Quadrangle buildings.

Nafranowicz said the project, which is on schedule, is a huge challenge but well worth it. Its goals are ambitious: retain the majestic Collegiate Gothic exterior of the buildings while creating new buildings within those same walls, all within a 16-month period.

In addition to revitalized living spaces and common areas, the renovation provides for upgraded plumbing, heating, ventilation, wireless high-speed network access, and accessibility, as well as improvements to the building's safety systems, including fire detection and suppression systems, swipe-card entry, and smoke detectors.

Energy-efficient measures were a priority in the design, Nafranowicz said, and include water-conserving toilets, showers, and bathroom faucets; heat recovery devices on air-handling units; attic insulation; motion-detecting corridor lighting; and adjustable thermostats.

Applications for residence are being accepted now, Nafranowicz said, and students (both JD and LLM) are encouraged to apply as soon as they receive an offer of admission. Leases will be sent beginning in early spring and throughout the summer. Applications are filled on a first-come, first-assigned basis.

The Club will accommodate 227 students, who can choose a lease that includes a furnished room, all utilities, and a 12-meal-per-week board contract. Room types include a single room with either a private bathroom ($12,460) or a semi-private bathroom shared with one other person ($11,660). A limited number of premium-sized rooms—offering space in excess of 200 square feet—are available at a cost of $13,260.

Each room will be completely furnished and have an individually controlled thermostat for heating and cooling. To view the complete list of student room furnishings, visit the Lawyers Club website.

"It's all about the location," Nafranowicz said. "You can live in an apartment your entire life, but the opportunity to live in the Lawyers Club is once in a lifetime. It is wonderful to get up every morning and have the whole University at your disposal. And when you step out to go to class at 8 a.m., the snow is already plowed, the carpet's been vacuumed—you're ready to go."