Friday, April 1, 2016

UW Law to Return to Condon

The University of Washington's Office of the University Architect announced last night that the School of Law will return to its former home in Condon Hall this summer, while Startup Hall and other functions currently housed in Condon Hall will move to William H. Gates Hall.
William H. Gates Hall (top) and Condon Hall.
If you look carefully, you can tell that the photo of Condon Hall is in color.

When asked to comment this morning, university officials acknowledged that there might be some disruption involved but assured students, faculty, and staff that the building swap would be for the best. "Being near the Foster School of Business will be very helpful for startups, while returning Law to the West campus will, um, move it back to the West campus," stated UW President Annie Mary Kossy.

Gates Hall is named for William H. Gates, Sr., a 1950 graduate of UW Law, because of a generous contribution toward its construction from Bill and Melinda Gates. A spokesperson said that the family is disappointed that the law school will no longer be in the building, but appreciated the idea of a startup center, since the family fortune grew from a scrappy little startup named Micro-Soft, founded in 1975. Gates Senior's legal career will still be honored in the Gates Public Service Law Program, which gives him more pride than the building, or even handsome portrait in the foyer. (Condon Hall is named for John T. Condon, the founding dean of the School of Law.)

Student Bar Association president Ken Myers said that students were concerned about the loss of well-lit, attractive study spaces and classrooms. But he did see one silver lining: "In the new location, we won't have as many undergraduates from Greek Row using our study spaces."

Library director Franklin Johnson pointed out that when the law school left Condon Hall in 2003 all the shelving and library fixtures were removed to make way for new uses. "This presents a great opportunity for re-envisioning the law library of the 21st century," he said. "Maybe we'll pile books on the floor or move them around in wheeled carousels. Or maybe this will inspire us to embrace an all-digital future."

Library stacks area in Condon Hall, without stacks (summer 2003)
UW Law Dean Tillie Kesty was speechless.

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