Law School opens Ontario campus

by Crystal Apilado
Staff Writer

The automatic glass doors of the University of La Verne College of Law, located in Ontario, opened up to students for the first time on Jan. 2.

“We were already running out of room at Hoover,” said Kenneth Held, dean and professor of law.

The number of students and faculty quickly outgrew the 17,000 square feet of the Hoover building and pushed the need for more space.

“The student lounge had to be used to store office supplies,” said Held.

The new law school was relocated to a modernized county building, first built in the 1970s, located on D Street in Ontario. The inside of the building was gutted and redesigned to accommodate the growing population of the law school. Mosaic signs, which read “The University of La Verne College of Law,” greet students, faculty and visitors at the entrance to two of the huge parking lots.

“Parking shouldn’t be a problem here,” said Held. The parking lots offer enough space for the over 550 students that attend the school to park.

The 11 classrooms are one shy of tripling the number of classrooms that the Hoover building held. Four of the classrooms are tiered and have power outlets installed in the desks for computer usage. Also, one of the rooms is big enough to be split into two rooms with a sliding wall panel. When opened, the large room can be used for open sessions or town meetings and has already been used for a student social event. The room also has audio equipment built into it and an overhead projector for presentations.

The Deans’ Suite (the wing with faculty offices) has enough space to allow each faculty member a personal office. The offices have a built-in desk and bookcase shelving. The staff and faculty lounge has comfortable couches, a cooking area and one of three television sets that were donated to the college. The lounge is a miniature version of the President’s Dining Hall and has already been utilized since the law school opened.

New aspects of the law school which benefit the students are lockers, mini lounges throughout the building and a main student lounge complete with a television, microwave and mail slots.

The law school features a wireless Internet system that can be accessed from anywhere on campus with the use of an access card that students may purchase.

“There’s a lot of technology built in,” said Held.

Another special feature at the law school is the courtroom. The courtroom is split so that half of it can be used as a classroom, but can still be used as a full courtroom if students turn their chairs around. The courtroom is equipped with television cameras that are controlled in a separate studio room.

The law school has a space for its organizations such as the Student Bar Association, Delta Theta Phi law fraternity and a Multicultural section which hosts the Black Law, Hispanic Bar and Asian American Associations.

There is also a wing for the admissions, registration and financial aid offices so law students do not have to travel back and forth between Woody Hall on the main campus and the law school.

The library is 27,000 square feet and larger than the Hoover building alone.

“We had books in storage,” said Lawrence Meyer, law librarian, in reference to the limited space of the law library at Hoover.

The library offers 10 study rooms, as well as numerous work stations that not only offer a bigger work space, but also absorbs and drowns out noise. Some of the work stations are wired for Internet use for those who have not purchased a card to access the wireless system.

There is a room for the Journal of Juvenile Law, which is found at large law schools. Books about cases from other states and an extensive section on California cases. There are also reflection titles to help students read the titles on the bottom shelves.

There are two copy rooms, separate desks for circulation and references, four computers that access the Internet and LEO Pac and a computer lab that contains 30 computers for student use. There is a digital machine that allows students to send print jobs to different printers throughout the library.

“There’s room for growth,” said Meyer about designated sections that can be expanded if needed to make more room.

A guard station welcomes visitors in the atrium located on the east side of the building. The station is equipped with cameras that cover the different entrances and exits of the building.

The building is located within walking distance of Euclid Avenue, the Ontario City Hall and the public library. The law school has a campus like setting. Ontario city officials hope that the presence of the college will improve the downtown and residential area by bringing people into the area.

The college was completed on schedule and within budget thanks to many donations by the Board of Trustees members, the Ahmanson Foundation, the city of Ontario, ULV and anonymous donors. Money from fundraising also contributed.

“It couldn’t have happened with out that support,” said Held.

The ULV College of Law is the only California accredited school in the Inland Empire.

Because the new building fulfills most of the American Bar Association (ABA) criteria, the law school has applied to be ABA accredited. A five-member team from the ABA inspected the College of Law from Jan. 29-31.

“The team did a very thorough job of examining our program, and was complimentary of the students, faculty and staff. We eagerly await its report, which we expect to receive in about six weeks,” said Held in a bulletin to the law student body.

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