Why are we building these buildings?
This construction represents Michigan Law's first major addition since Hutchins Hall opened in 1933. Our student body has more than doubled, and the faculty more than quadrupled, since we last added classroom space. It's high time for more room! Students need a place in the Law School where they can comfortably study together and meet in groups; the Robert B. Aikens Commons will provide just such a nerve center. In addition, law school students today have different requirements: they take a greater number of small classes, have more interaction with actual clients in supervised clinical settings, rely heavily on technology, and complete more group assignments. The new academic building will meet these needs.
How long will the construction take?
The completion date for the commons and academic building is January 2012.
Will construction change course schedules or class locations?
It's our priority to keep schedule and class disruption to a minimum. Occasionally, however, a class may be assigned a different classroom. Friday classes have been scheduled this term and will be scheduled regularly in future terms to allow greater flexibility in scheduling.
Will there be construction going on during midterms and exams?
In all likelihood, construction work will go on during midterms and exams. Our construction managers, however, are aware of our academic and exam schedules for the next two years. Many of the start dates for the most noisy work are being timed so as to have the least conflict with our academic activities.
Will there be much noise?
At times, yes (unfortunately, it cannot be avoided). Once the project begins, there will be certain periods with noise and disruption, and other times when we are not likely to hear or experience much disruption. We will keep you informed about what to expect in the way of noise so that you can plan accordingly.
Will there be fumes or dust?
The extensive excavation and use of heavy machinery that go into any major construction will inevitably kick up some dust and fumes. These will, however, occur within the construction sites themselves. Every effort is being made to ensure the classroom environment is disrupted as little as possible, and construction updates will inform students, faculty, and staff of what to expect as construction progresses.
Are environmental building practices being used? If so, how/which ones?
Responsible practices are being used during the construction of the new buildings, and sustainability will be a hallmark of the new buildings' features. We are seeking LEED silver certification on the new academic building.
Will the new building look like the rest of the Law School?
Designed in a modified Collegiate Gothic style, the academic building will clearly be part of the Law Quad "family" of buildings, but will not copy them. The new structure will be clad in stone and roofed in slate.
Who designed the new building? Who designed the Commons?
Both buildings were designed by Hartman-Cox Architects of Washington, D.C. Hartman-Cox's other projects have included work for business schools and other law schools, as well as renovations and restorations of such notable structures as the National Archives Building, the Patent Office Building, and the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. The firm has a particular expertise in the Collegiate Gothic style that is the hallmark of the Law Quad.
Integrated Design Solutions of Troy, Michigan, is working in conjunction with Hartman-Cox, overseeing such significant details as interiors, lighting design, and electrical and plumbing installation.
Where can I park during and after construction?
Please see our Parking and Transportation page.
How much does all the construction cost? How is it being funded?
Total cost of the expansion and renovation project is $102 million. It is being funded through a partnership between the University and the Law School, with private donors giving $70 million of the total. To date, more than 400 law alumni and friends have made gifts to the building project, ranging from $10 to $10 million. The lead gift was made by Ann and Robert Aikens, '54.