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UNM Law school to break new ground

Changes to include modern classrooms, computer labs

The UNM School of Law is sponsoring a groundbreaking ceremony today at 3 p.m. to celebrate a 32,000 square foot addition to Bratton Hall.

During the ceremony Law School Dean Robert Desiderio is scheduled to announce details of a major grant that will help fund the construction project.

The addition will include eight classrooms and four seminar rooms. One of the classrooms will be convertible into a courtroom, with a separate courtroom featuring remote-controlled cameras, microphones and equipment for making digital presentations. The classrooms will be wired for the latest technology and more than 5,000 feet of new space will be devoted to the law clinic, which will bring the facility up to standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The addition will also provide space for a new computer laboratory.

Second year law student Tammy Ewing said she thinks the improvements are needed. She said the law school classrooms and facilities are outdated.

First year student Eric Loman agreed.

“We’ve had the accreditation people come in here, and the building is kind of dilapidated,” he said. “The new clinic is going to be really nice. Construction’s kind of a pain in the ass but hopefully it’ll be worth it.”

Loman said many law students take notes with laptop computers, so it is important that the classrooms be wired properly for electrical and Internet needs. He said the law clinic is valuable because it allows third-year students to do real legal work representing impoverished clients. The construction is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.

The addition will be named after former Law School Dean Frederick M. Hart, who started a summer pre-law program for American Indian law students. A “Bruce King Library” will be established Bratton Hall, in honor of the former governor of New Mexico. King has donated his papers to the law school and will help with fund-raising for the renovation.

According to the press release, Desiderio said updating the law school’s technological capacities will allow the school to offer courses, not only to students, but also to lawyers and judges throughout the state.

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