December 9, 2015 | Source:

University of Hawaii law school plans to undergo expansion, upgrade

The University of Hawaii Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law plans to undergo a renovation and expansion as part of its master plan to accommodate its growth, according to public documents.

The master plan includes increasing the floor area of the law school to 134,000 square feet from 85,000 square feet, renovating the law library and west wing, adding a second floor to the east wing and building a community legal outreach center.

The project’s draft environmental assessment, prepared by Honolulu-based Group 70 International Inc., has been recently released with an anticipated finding of no significant impact to the environment.

“The master plan is very long term, with a 10- to 20-year horizon,” Dan Meisenzahl, University of Hawaii spokesman, told PBN. “There are no plans in the near future to request funding toward it.”

The project also includes the renovation of the existing courtyard in the west wing and improvements to the parking lot, pedestrian plaza and landscaping.

The community legal outreach center is one of the most important components in the law school master plan.

This center aims to provide critically needed space for the law school’s existing community outreach programs and clinical programs, which include a defense clinic, legal aid/family law, medical/legal partnership clinic, Ka Huli Ao and Native Hawaiian Rights Center, Elder/Veteran law, Small Business Clinic, Environmental Law Clinic, Immigration Law Clinic and the Hawaii Innocence Project.

The center is expected to strengthen the law school’s ability to provide cutting-edge practical legal training for students in a modern law firm environment, while also directly serving particularly vulnerable people within the community, according to the draft EA.

The $7 million first phase of the master plan will be the construction of the center, parking lot and landscape improvements, anticipated to start within 2016 to 2017.

Timing has not been determined for construction of the rest of the planned phases.

The law school first opened in 1973 and its facilities no longer have the capacity to support the growth in faculty, students and programs.

Once the upgrades are completed, the law school will have three detached two-story buildings possibly connected with bridges at the second floor of the buildings.


Read full article here