Austin Has 100th Anniversary But Renovations Are in Order
The Law School's Austin Hall celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday in ceremony complete with birthday cake and dignitaries.
After a greeting by Dean of the Law School James Vorenberg '49, John P. Coolidge '35, Boardman Professor of Fine Arts, spoke about the building's designer. Henry H. Richardson, who graduated from the College in 1859, and his architecture, an example of which is Server Hall.
Vorenberg took the opportunity to announce officially that the Law School is conducting a fund drive to raise the $2.25 million needed for renovating the building. He added that almost one-third of the money-about $750,000-had already been raised.
Austin Hall, which was the sole Law School building for 20 years, currently houses a large portion of the school's classrooms, and the legal service organizations as well as the historical Ames Courtroom.
"Right now, it's in pretty shabby condition," Russell A. Simpson, Assistant dean for financial and general administration in the Law School, said recently, adding, "there is no air-conditioning, the building still has its original heating system, and most of the offices need some sort of work."
The reconstruction, "will serve a dual purpose" Paul W. Upson, financial officer and director of business operations at the Law School, said, adding, "it will take care of an architectural treasure and it will make the building more useful to us."
Plans include renovating classrooms and study areas, restoring the sandstone exterior, modernizing the heating and cooling systems, and completing the Ames Courtroom renovation which was halted two years ago.
The Ames Courtroom is used for clinics and the prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition each year. The courtroom is also used for actual trials within the state's superior court system.
The courtroom was the site of yesterday's event, and a panel discussion on "Changes in Legal Education" was held later in the afternoon.
The festivities also featured a cake modeled after Austin Hall.
In addition to the renovations a $1 million endowment will be established to fund future maintenance and repairs Simpson said.
Work on the exterior will begin as early as next summer, Simpson said, and interior reconstruction should occur during the summer of 1985, so that it does not interfere with classes.
The renovations will be funded by alumni donations. Jennifer Fallon of the school's Alumni Office said they "hope to have attained the remainder [of the money] by next June."