Photo: Former Central High School building, 800 N. Harvey. Source: newsok.com
By Farris Willingham, Editor-in-Chief
Members from the university’s Board of Trustees approved a proposal Oct. 24 to move the law school to the former Central High School building, 800 N. Harvey.
Trustees approved the plan after a task force, compromising law school faculty and staff members, students and administrators, ensured that a move would be physically and financially possible.
Officials plan to renovate the building, where offices for American Farmers and Ranchers are, to make it available for law school classes in 2014. Most of the building will consist of classrooms for law students, faculty and staff, with additional space for the school’s clinical programs, law review and law library.
The move will leave Sarkeys Law Center and the Gold Star Memorial Building vacant.
Law school officials searched for several years to find an “ideal” location downtown, Dean Valerie K. Couch said.
“This magnificent building came to our attention and it ignited our imagination, she said. “Here we will be able to build new and dynamic connections with the legal and business community and contribute to the growth and progress of this great city of ours.”
The building also will serve as a venue for some of the university’s special events, including performances and business functions, President Robert Henry said.
“OCU students will have more opportunities for access to courtrooms and major law firms, which is a valuable addition to their learning experiences,” he said. “Many will move downtown, further vitalizing our growing and vibrant city.
The move will create symbiotic benefits for the school and Oklahoma City, Trustee Chairman Ron Norick said.
“We will be glad to join the fast-growing downtown business community,” Norick said. “This move will benefit our law students tremendously and add hundreds of young professionals to downtown Oklahoma City.”
Even though the move will affect future students, current students expressed excitement about the prospect.
“When I think about the transition from student to alumnus in a few short months, the move downtown will only enhance my connection to and pride for my future alma mater,” said Chelsea Klinglesmith Estes, third-year law student. ““It will also appeal to an entirely new group of students — those looking to attend a law school in the heart of a metropolitan area with walking access to just about anything.”
The Gothic-style building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed in 1910.