Today, the University of British Columbia opened the country's first new purpose-built university law school building in 30 years, a $56-million facility made possible by the largest private fundraising effort for a Canadian law school building. With powerful learning and sustainability features, Allard Hall - named after donor and alumnus Peter A. Allard - will advance legal research and education in Canada, expand the UBC Faculty of Law's presence in the community and honour its ties to B.C. First Nations.
"From human rights to environmental protections, a passion for law and justice is crucial for civil society," says Prof. Stephen Toope, UBC President. "As a leading global centre for law education and research, Allard Hall will provide UBC students and scholars with an exceptional environment to learn, teach and conduct research that advances social justice and the rule of law worldwide."
The legal community, alumni and friends of UBC Law have donated nearly $35 million towards Allard Hall. Major building gifts include a $9.825-million portion of Allard's recent $11.86-million donation - one of the largest individual gifts to a Canadian law school - and two grants from the Law Foundation of BC totaling $12 million. UBC has committed the remaining $21 million of the building's cost.
"UBC Law is extremely fortunate to have a community of supporters who believed in the impact this project could have on the Faculty's role as one of Canada's and the world's leading centres for legal education and research," said Mary Anne Bobinski, Dean of UBC Law at Allard Hall. "Allard Hall is more than a building - it is the foundation for our continuing effort to offer one of the world's best legal education programs and to ensure that our research has national reach and global impact."
The four-storey, 141,000 square-foot building includes flexible, modern teaching spaces, a replica courtroom and dedicated spaces for the faculty's nearly 650 students, 45 full-time faculty, plus alumni and guests. Classroom video displays and webcasting technology will connect UBC students with law schools and communities globally. A three-storey multipurpose forum with floor-to-ceiling windows converts from a social area to an auditorium for special events and lectures.
Built to achieve LEED Gold certification, Allard Hall's carbon footprint will be as much as 87 per cent smaller than that of an equivalent conventional building. It features a geo-exchange system that harvests the Earth's heat through deep underground wells, high-efficiency lighting and ventilation, passive cooling strategies and end-of-trip cycling facilities, including secure storage, lockers and showers.
Allard Hall has expanded space for important public resources, including a state-of-the-art UBC Law Library, which is an academic hub for students and the legal community, and the UBC Law Student's Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) and UBC chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada, where law students provide more than 200,000 hours of free legal services to the community and non-profit groups annually.
The building reflects a long-standing commitment to the Aboriginal community that has strengthened since UBC Law established Canada's first Aboriginal law program in 1970. The Indigenous Classroom and First Nations Student Lounge have undulating wood walls and ceilings that represent "river grass," a reference to the Musqueam Indian Band - "the People of the River Grass" - on whose traditional lands UBC is located. The Musqueam word for "remember" is emblazoned on a bench by an outdoor reflection pool, where a totem pole crafted by a Musqueam artist will be installed in 2012.
Law reform organizations in the building include: the UN-affiliated International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy and the BC Law Institute.
Today's opening ceremony was attended by the Right Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada (a UBC Law faculty member from 1974-1981), the Hon. Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of B.C. (alumnus and former faculty member), Peter A. Allard (alumnus) and representatives from the Law Foundation of B.C. and Musqueam Indian Band.