The University of South Carolina Tuesday unveiled its new, $80 million law school building – a swanky, 187,500-square-foot facility that occupies nearly an entire city block at Bull and Gervais streets.
The building is expected to help the USC School of Law recruit “top-flight” students and faculty, dean Robert Wilcox said. Wilcox also expects it to help with the law school’s No. 88 national ranking in the widely watched U.S. News and World Report rankings.
“You don’t go up in a ranking just because you have a new building,” Wilcox said. “But you go up in a ranking if you can bring in the students you need and if you can do the research you need and if your academic program is good enough to really raise your reputation.
“We have a feeling that as people come into the school – we host some conferences here and things – while the building doesn’t count directly into the numbers, it will have an impact on the reputation.”
A few things to know about the law school’s new digs:
▪ The building features 17 classrooms, ranging in size from 20 to 95 seats, and two realistic courtrooms, including one that also can be used as a 300-seat auditorium.
▪ The judge’s bench in the larger courtroom is the original heart-pine S.C. Supreme Court bench from the 1870s.
▪ USC paid for the building with $20 million from the Legislature, $18 million in private donations and borrowing.
▪ New students will begin to use the building for summer classes starting June 1.