College of Law Kicks off Facilities Expansion With Celebration Ceremony, Architect Naming
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law officials Friday night will honor contributors to its recent successful $25 million expansion campaign, and announce the selection of architects to design major facilities for the nation’s 11th largest law school.
UF President Charles Young and law school Dean Jon Mills will headline the dinner event slated to begin at 6 p.m. at Savannah Grande.
Among those attending are W. C. Gentry of Jacksonville, chairman of the Law Center Association Board of Trustees Building Campaign Committee; Fredric G. Levin of Pensacola who made possible an earlier $20 million endowment to the law school and contributed as well to the expansion effort; and hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff and students.
“This occasion is a celebration of the dawning of the Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center and new student/faculty facilities.,” Mills said, “and of importance to this community, a new and impressive western front door for our University.
“Once in a generation, there is a chance to change the face of a major institution,” he continued. “For the college, these facilities and expansion symbolize a new era.”
Those attending Friday’s event will hear that a UF task force has selected architectural firms Ponikvar & Associates, Inc., of Gainesville, and Tsoi/Kobus & Associates of Cambridge, Mass. Groundbreaking will be next spring.
“Our selection committee started with 20 of the finest architectural firms in the country,” Mills said, “and selected a team that understood our commitment to excellence and our vision for this college. Now we will have a facility to match the quality of our faculty and students.”
Aside from Mills, other members of the UF selection committee were Professor Jo Hassell, College of Design, Construction and Planning; D. Jeff Blair, engineer, Physical Plant; and Carol Walker, director, and Howie Ferguson, coordinator and project manager, Facilities Planning and Construction.
Ponikvar & Associates was founded locally in1978, and in the last 10 years hasspecialized in college, university and institutional projects. Two of the firm’s recent projects at UF are Emerson Alumni Hall and The Residence College at Hume Hall. The firm also was selected to design the UF Digital Arts and Sciences Virtual Reality Theater and Production Studio now under construction.
Tsoi/Kobus & Associates recently completed work for such academic clients as Harvard Medical and Business schools, Washington University, Boston College and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The firm also is recognized for its work on the new 293,000-square-foot Suffolk University Law School, one of the most technologically advanced institutions in the nation completed in 1999 in the Boston area.
Mills said Gentry headed a seven-month effort in 2001 that raised $6.3 million from alumni, faculty, staff, friends and students throughout the country. That money was matched by the state with additional monies from UF to finance the new academic center featuring classrooms and study areas and the library expansion (with the building to honor Chiles, a law school grad and former Florida governor and U.S. senator).
The law dean also praised Board of Trustees chairman Marybeth McDonald and past chairman Richard M. “Robie” Robinson, both of Orlando, for their support. He said the 200-member law Alumni Council, headed by Bruce Harris of Orlando, helped secure gifts from classmates and colleagues throughout Florida, Georgia and the United States.
Mills said enlarging and upgrading teaching facilities and the library, built in the late 1960’s, is “central to our vision of being one of the nation’s top public law schools, and will transform our law school community forever.” He said the enlarged Legal Information Center will be among the top 20 of more than 180 academic law libraries in the country in terms of space.