School of Law celebrates topping off of new building

The apex of the new University of South Carolina School of Law building was reached Thursday (July 9) when construction crews set in place a 40-foot steel beam weighing more than 700 pounds.

The raising of the beam was part of a Topping Off ceremony to signify the highest point in the structural or “steel” phase of the building had been met. The enclosure phase started June 1.  As is custom, iron workers placed a small Leyland Cypress tree, symbolizing the bringing of life to the building, on the beam, which was signed by those in attendance.

President Harris Pastides praised the dedication of the workers in reaching the milestone.

“It’s been fascinating for all of us to watch USC’s new School of Law’s structural rise,” Pastides said. “Hard hats off to these tenacious workers who, even during one of the hottest summers on record, have provided the expertise needed to get each steel beam in place.” 

When complete, the new School of Law building, bounded by Gervais, Bull, Senate and Pickens streets, will anchor Columbia’s legal corridor along the north edge of campus that will include the school’s Children’s Law Center in the Whaley House, the National Advocacy Center and the South Carolina’s Statehouse and Supreme Court.

The $80 million law school will open in 2017 during the school’s 150th anniversary year.

School of Law Dean Robert Wilcox said seeing the new building take form with a beam placed at its highest point is a reminder of how the building promises to further transform law education at the university.

“Already it is transforming the Gervais Street corridor. When finished, the building will just as surely open new opportunities for our students to study law in the best possible environment. We are incredibly excited to see the project reach this milestone toward completion,” Wilcox said.

Dave Dewar, senior project executive, and Will Ligon, project manager, with Gilbane Construction also addressed the construction crew and attendees that included university board of trustee members and law school faculty, staff and alumni.

With the enclosure phase of the new School of Law underway, Columbia residents will see the design of the 187,500-square-foot building come to life over the next 18 months.

Inspired by 19th-century South Carolina architect Robert Mills, the three-story building will feature a limestone and brick exterior. Its main entrance, located on Senate Street, will be flanked by limestone columns. In contrast to the stately exterior, the building’s interior will feature flexible learning spaces -- classrooms and courtrooms – to accommodate the different styles of teaching and group study that take place in a contemporary law school. The building will be swathed in natural light and feature a two-story law library reading room that overlooks a large courtyard and patio.



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