2009-10-21 / Features

CUNY Law School Will Move To Long Island City

A new, centrally located home for the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School has been approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees, a move that will give the school nearly 70,000 additional square feet of space, enable it to offer a new, part-time program and situate it within walking distance of numerous city subway and bus lines, the Long Island Rail Road, and the New York State Supreme Court building in Long Island City.

Under action approved by the Board, CUNY will own a condominium interest in a 14-story, environmentally green building at historic Court Square. The 26-year-old Law School, currently in Flushing near Queens College, will be relocated to the first six floors, and Citigroup will retain ownership of the remainder of the building. The Board’s action follows a competitive request for proposal process, which led to the identification of the site.

Served by seven subway lines, seven bus lines, the LIRR and within minutes of midtown Manhattan, the new, convenient location will expand accessibility for current and prospective students drawn to CUNY Law’s high academic quality, nationally recognized clinical training, and public service mission. Additionally, the space already contains classrooms previously used for staff training, as well as smart technology and study areas. The larger space will also enable the Law School to expand opportunities with a new part-time program.

“The CUNY Law School is already soaring as a result of the exemplary leadership of Dean Michelle J. Anderson and its dedicated faculty, staff and students,” Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said. “This new facility will assure that CUNY Law School is marvelously positioned to achieve new heights, both academically and in fulfillment of its vital public service mission. I want to especially thank Governor [David] Paterson, the New York state legislature and Queens County elected officials for their longstanding support of CUNY Law School, the only public law school in New York City dedicated to public service and the public interest.”

Anderson said: “A move to this terrific new location will greatly enhance our ability to carry out our mission to diversify the legal profession and to train the next generation of public interest lawyers. The easy commute to this new location creates more opportunities for our students to connect with the legal community and internships throughout the five boroughs.” The proposed part-time program would appeal particularly to older students, working parents, and those from working-class backgrounds, according to Anderson. “Just as the Law School wants to make sure that everyone, regardless of race, class or ethnicity, has access to outstanding and affordable lawyers, we want to make an excellent legal education itself accessible to everyone, including those from underrepresented communities,” Anderson said. “This expansion will help us to continue in CUNY Law’s efforts to diversity the profession.”

The move to Court Square is expected in time for the start of classes in fall 2011. The Queens College School of Education will move into the Flushing building currently occupied by the Law School adjacent to the college campus.

The move comes at a time when CUNY Law's first-time New York State Bar pass rate is at an all-time high. The undergraduate GPAs and LSAT scores of the entering class have never been higher, and enrollment of first-year law students is up 20 percent over last year.

Consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as offering one of the top 10 clinical programs in the nation, the CUNY Law School offers a curriculum heralded by the Carnegie Foundation for its integration of theory and practice. CUNY Law has also been recognized by National Jurist/PreLaw Magazine as one of the top 10 public interest law schools in the country and by the Princeton Review for having one of the most diverse law faculties in the nation and the most welcoming campus in the nation for older students.

The trustees approved a resolution allowing CUNY to proceed with the purchase of the space through a nonprofit corporation that will issue bonds to finance the acquisition, development, renovation, and equipping of a new law school.

“Citigroup came forward during our request for proposal process with an existing, state-ofthe art building designed specifically for educational use,” CUNY Vice Chancellor for Construction Facilities and Management Iris Weinshall said. “The building will support the needs of the Law School, with very little additional construction. It’s a good fit for CUNY Law, and that makes the University's purchase even more attractive.”

With the new site, CUNY Law will become one of the greenest law schools in the country. The building at 2 Court Square is LEED Gold certified, which means that its construction had reduced environmental impact and its design increases occupants’ health and well-being.

Each floor features a floor-to-ceiling glass curtainwall that maximizes access to daylight and exterior views. A highly efficient glazing system on the curtainwall handles air, water, wind infiltration, cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting. Ninety percent of the structural steel was derived from post-consumer recycled materials, and construction waste materials were 90 percent recycled. The structure's efficient plumbing fixtures save 1 million gallons of water annually; high-performance mechanical, electrical, and HVAC hydrochlorofluorocarbon-free air conditioning systems reduce energy consumption by 12 percent over conventional systems while improving indoor air quality, and sustainable elements include high-efficiency lighting, eucalyptus wood paneling with low-volatile organic compound finishes, and formaldehyde-free wood doors. A 20,000-gallon storm water retention system collects and recycles rainwater in the building’s mechanical system. In addition, 29 percent of companies participating in the construction were New York state certified minority- and women-owned businesses.

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