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Osgoode launches building campaign

|Written By Kirsten McMahon

Osgoode Hall Law School alumni, donors, and friends gathered at the Design Exchange late last week for the launch of the Building Osgoode Campaign — the largest fundraising campaign in Ontario law school history.

However, the school is off to a good start with $6 million raised of the $25-million price tag for the renovation and expansion of the law school’s building, programs, and student financial aid.
The launch was part of the annual Dean’s Alumni Reception, and Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan shared his vision of the expansion, which is being built on the roof of the library.

The renovation and expansion project was designed by Jack Diamond and Diamond + Schmitt Architects, who were the force behind downtown Toronto’s stunning Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the bunker-like conditions of the law school’s current facility.

While that infamous windowless structure will still continue to exist, although the expansion’s centrepiece is a three-storey atrium that, “Will bring light and will give inspiration to the community at Osgoode,” Monahan said.
Architect Diamond added that his goal was, “To create an environment where it’s somewhere pleasant to be rather than somewhere to avoid.”

Monahan said that “Jack’s designs are beautiful, but they’re not cheap.”
He went on to thank and acknowledge some of the generous donations, including a $1-million gift from Canada Law Book, $750,000 from Goodmans LLP, and $2.5 million from businessman and developer Ignat Kaneff, whose daughter Christina attends the law school.

In recognition of Kaneff’s gift and his commitment to assist the law school in raising further funds for the campaign, York University president and vice-chancellor Dr. Lorna R. Marsden said she will be recommending to the university’s board of governors that the law school’s building be named The Ignat Kaneff Building.

Canada Law Book’s donation will fund a rare books room in the new building and will be named the Canada Law Book Rare Book Room, while Goodmans’ donation will fund a new student cafeteria and lounge.

“Canada Law Book is delighted to play a role in this significant expansion of the law school and its dedication to preserving Canada’s legal heritage,” says Ruth Epstein, vice president of legal publishing at Canada Law Book.
Other donations included $500,000 from Markham developer Rudy Bratty, $70,000 from Osgoode students, and $250,000 from Osgoode faculty and staff.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2008.