UBC Law School Looking for Last $3 Million Nudge

The University of B.C.’s long-awaited new law school is looking for a last $3-million nudge to meet its $24-million capital expenditure program.

“The support from the community has been extraordinary,” says Sue Kennedy, UBC’s acting building development director.

The new school, to open in 2011, would replace a two-storey concrete structure last added to in 1973. A new four-storey building, featuring a central atrium, would be a more sustainable structure meeting a LEED gold environmental standard. But, getting that last $3 million to drive the project forward is now the challenge.

"This is the toughest part of the fund raising,” said Kennedy, as regular contributors have already come forward. 
Major B.C. law firm donors to date include: Farris Vaughan Wills & Murphy LLP with $1 million; Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and the Ladner family also with $1 million; Richard Buell Sutton LLP with another $1 million; Davis LLP and Irwin Davis also at $1 million; an anonymous law firm with $1 million; McCarthy Tétrault LLP with $300,000; Taylor Jordon Chafetz and the Lysyk family at $250,000; and the UBC Law Class of 1968 with $125,000.

The Law Foundation of British Columbia has offered a matching grant of up to $12 million. Kennedy said significant contributions have also come from individual donors. As well, law firms throughout B.C. have made smaller contributions to bring the university’s tally to $21 million – only $3 million short of target.


Speaking of the generous donation by the UBC Law Class of 1968, Kennedy said, “there are many more classes coordinating efforts right now” and she is hopeful that some of these will step forward and memorialize their class in the new law building.

If a minimum contribution of $125,000 is made, there will be a space — lounge, hall, or gathering area — named in honour of that donor group, firm, or individual. A donor wall is also being planned, although Kennedy says it has not yet been determined what the threshold amount is to be named onto the wall. She estimates it will be $5,000 to $10,000.

Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in spring 2009. Law students will be housed in another “swing” facility on campus during the two-year construction phase. Kennedy said the old structure was badly outdated with heating and ventilation problems. And, since it is concrete, “it was very hard to upgrade,” she said.

The proposed new facility, designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects, will connect faculty with campuses, courthouses, and offices around the world and offer a new, state-of-the-art law library. It will also feature more natural light, a larger library, more research space, and more moot court space.

Contributors can contact Kennedy at 604-827-5026 or e-mail [email protected]. More details are available at the UBC Faculty of Law website under building project.

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