College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Old Law School Building Gets Facelift

For decades Lamar Hall has been the home of the Law School, but with the Robert C. Khayat Law Center now in use, the fate of what will become of older building has been a question.

Associate provost Noel Wilkin said there is value in having undergraduate classrooms in the center of campus, which was a driving factor in the decision to make a new law school.

“The building will undergo a renovation to convert many of the spaces to classrooms,” Wilkin said. “The need for classrooms has grown as our student enrollment has grown.

The Quality Enhancement Plan that was developed called for locating the Center for Writing and Rhetoric in the Lamar Building. Other office spaces in the building have been assigned to the College of Liberal Arts.”

Wilkins said that from there the college of liberal arts will assign spaces to the department of sociology and anthropology.

Lamar Hall contains five large classrooms, two seminar rooms, two moot courtrooms and 121,000 square feet of available space.

Ian Banner, director of Facilities Planning, said there are two phases going into the renovation of Lamar Hall.

In the first phase of renovation, which is expected to finish in the spring of 2013, is going to add new elevators, new stairs in the middle of the building, new classrooms, a new food service space on the ground floor facing the Grove and a space for the Center for Writing and Rhetoric. The new classrooms will range in size from 90, 40, and 30-seat classrooms.

Banner hopes that the new renovations will help students and faculty have an easier time getting around the building.

“One of the problems with Lamar Hall, as everybody knows, is that it is very difficult to find your way around in it,” Banner said. “You don’t know which way you’re facing because you can’t see out, you can’t see up or down, and it’s hard to find the elevator.

“The two stair towers are identical, except there is only an elevator in one and not the other, so frequently you find yourself at the wrong end of the building. By putting two new public elevators right in the middle of the building, we hope that will help people find their way around.”

Banner said the addition of a new elevator is necessary for the renovations, because the old elevator with stairs wrapped around them does not meet modern day elevator codes.

The first phase will cover only the first and second floors. Banner said that classrooms in the basement will be “used as is,” and he said they could be used now if needed.

The second phase of the renovations will just involve mechanical and electrical upgrades, as well as working with the windows on the top floor. According to Banner the total cost for the building should come out to around $7 million.

After the renovations are complete, the school will then register for certification.

If after a year there are no outstanding problems then a building will receive it’s certification.

From the Daily Mississippian by Jacob Batte