Famous for its ethereal stone walls, the Law Quadrangle is a common site for weddings and other formal events. But new renovation plans may make the interior of the exclusive Lawyers Club and John P. Cook Dormitory as well-known as its exterior.
At its monthly meeting to be held in Detroit on Thursday, the University’s Board of Regents is expected to approve a $39 million construction project to renovate two buildings that are home to about 260 Law students. Of the sum, $20 million was donated by University alum Charles Munger, vice chair of Berkshire Hathaway.
University President Mary Sue Coleman wrote in a press release yesterday that Munger’s donation will help the Law School’s buildings meet the high-quality standards set by its education.
“The Law Quad is an icon of U-M’s excellence in legal education, and its prominence is now ensured for future generations because of Charlie’s generosity,” Coleman wrote. “I am particularly pleased because this gift directly benefits the living-learning experience for our law students.”
After graduating from the University, Munger attended Harvard Law School, which he graduated from in 1948. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law degree at the University’s Winter 2010 Commencement in December.
The $19 million cost of the construction that won’t be covered by the donation will be paid for by the Lawyers Club and “central university investment proceeds,” according to the press release.
Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote in a communication to the regents that 92,000 square feet of both buildings will be renovated to update the plumbing, heating, ventilation, fire detection and suppression systems, Internet access and handicap accessibility.
Additionally, a hallway connecting all the dorm rooms will be added to each building to “increase safety, accessibility and sense of community for the residents,” Slottow wrote.
While the interior of the buildings will be changed, the façades will remain intact, according to the press release. Air conditioning will also be installed.
Still, Slottow wrote that the University is committed to ensuring the renovations are environmentally friendly.
“We will target overall energy performance to exceed national energy efficiency standards by more than 30 percent,” he wrote.
The club wing of the Lawyers Club, which houses the building’s dining hall, will receive several infrastructure updates, including a new roof. The club wing is located on State Street and is connected to the dormitory wing of the Lawyers Club on South University Avenue.
In a separate communication to the regents, Slottow and Law School Dean Evan Caminker requested authorization to rename the north Lawyers Club dormitories The Charles T. Munger Residences in the Lawyers Club.
“With the renovations made possible by Mr. Munger’s generosity, the Law School’s living spaces will aptly complement its world-class scholarly and instructional offerings,” Caminker and Slottow wrote.
This isn’t Munger’s first donation to the Law School. In 2007, Munger donated $3 million for lighting upgrades in the Law Quad.
The Law School is also constructing a new building, South Hall, which is projected to be completed in 2012. If approved by the Ann Arbor Planning Commission, a pedestrian mall will span Monroe Street and connect the new South Hall with existing Law School buildings.