University of Houston Requests $60 Million for Law Center Restoration

HOUSTON — The University of Houston (UH) Law Center is requesting $60 million dollars for a new law center building in hopes to catch the department up with the rest of the modernized campus and to achieve flood resiliency.

According to a local report, the current center, known as the Bates Law Building, was erected in 1969 and has not been updated since the 1970s. Most of the current law building is situated underground with no windows, making it dark as well as susceptible to flooding. Floods in the past have ruined textbooks as well as forced students to move out of the building.

Once the school is able to raise the proper amount of funding, university officials will construct a five-story facility to replace the current building that’s suffered major water damage. The new facility will include modern technology, a law library, classrooms, a courtroom and event space. All services will be centralized and easy to navigate, including faculty, who will be accessible on the first floor.

The first floor will house a new courtroom and parliament-style classrooms, an event space for hosting speakers and guests, a security desk and lobby that works as a directory and information center, and a clinical space, where pro bono legal services will be offered to the community.

Instead of underground, the library will be on the new building’s top two floors.

Another primary goal is to improve the status of the law school as the center is already ranked as one the top centers for law in the country; specializing in healthcare law, intellectual property law and part-time law.

The center has currently raised $10 million toward construction — which will take place at what is currently lot 19b — from alumni and the Law Foundation.

The University will not know the outcome of their request until May at the earliest, when the current legislative session ends.

Construction is expected to begin by 2021 assuming things move forward with the funding.

Reports from the Houston Chronicle and the Daily Cougar contributed to this story.