Instead of opening a second campus at Penn State University, The Dickinson School of Law governors want to launch a $50 million renovation of the Carlisle site. The governors, in a 22-12 vote yesterday, shelved a proposal from Penn State administrators to build a second law campus at State College.
"This is an outstanding day for our school. I'm ecstatic," Dickinson board member Jason Kutulakis said.
"I think it's very good news for the community and very good news for the law school as well," Carlisle Mayor Kirk Wilson said.
"The governor thinks the Carlisle campus is the best option for the law school, for Carlisle and for the future of the institution and for Penn State, as well," said Ed Rendell's spokeswoman, Kate Philips.
After the vote, however, some board members warned casting aside Penn State's offer could hurt Dickinson's efforts to draw more top- notch applicants and boost the school's national rankings. Those had been Penn State's reasons for suggesting the dual campuses and an expanded curriculum this summer.
?The dual-campus idea is a 21st-century idea, and I think we've got to look past the horizon,?? said board member William Caroselli, who voted against deferring Penn State's proposal.
Board member Lewis Katz, phoning in his vote from Athens, Greece, where he is accompanying the U.S. basketball team to the Olympics, said he spent Wednesday and Thursday evening on the phone with Penn State President Graham Spanier and governors board Chairman LeRoy Zimmerman hashing out a new plan.
"Instead of an outright rejection [of the two-campus plan], we're not at this time prepared to do a second campus [or] consider anything other than a new law school in Carlisle. Let's build our one law school now in Carlisle," said Katz, who is the principal owner of the New Jersey Nets. "Give Carlisle what Carlisle deserves, the continued presence of a world-class law school."
Katz said Spanier "couldn't be more supportive about a new law school in Carlisle ... [and] helping to fund raise in any way we ask him."
After the meeting, Penn State released a statement from Spanier: "The decision not to accept the two-campus proposal is disappointing, but we will do our best to move ahead constructively from here. Penn State now needs to move forward and develop a new vision and strategic plan for our law school."
And Penn State left the door open on the possibility for a second law campus in State College someday.
"Can it be revisited in the future? Yeah," said Wendell Courtney, Penn State's lawyer.
Rodney Erickson, Penn State vice president and provost, said the university trustees will discuss spending $10 million on Carlisle renovations during next month's talk on the university's five-year capital plan.
Rendell has pledged a $25 million matching grant from the state capital budget fund.
"As soon as the $25 million in matching funds is raised, the governor will be delighted to release the state funds," Philips said.
In addition to Penn State's contribution, charitable grants and alumni donations are expected to provide $15 million.
Some Dickinson board members said they want more money from Penn State for the renovation project.
"I have a great concern that we're not getting more earnest money from Penn State," Joan Mahrer said.
Don Taylor said he thought alumni giving would fall short.
But Katz was optimistic. "I promise you I will lead the charge if I'm asked," he said.
Member Hubert X. Gilroy said that when the board last summer launched talks about a renovation of Trickett Hall, funding was a great concern.
Now, "we are $25 million to the better," he said. "I think this is a fabulous proposal."
Board member Jan Jurden, a Delaware Superior Court judge, said the board was failing in its duty to Dickinson by snubbing Penn State's original proposal to build a $60 million law campus in State College and help pay for $25 million in renovations at Carlisle.
Board member Leslie Anne Miller also voted "no," saying she was troubled by inadequate planning for Dickinson's future. "We do not have the necessary strategic plan to guide this decision," she said.
The board, meeting yesterday in Dickinson's Trickett Hall, was originally expected to take up a recommendation to study the two- campus plan. Penn State warned the board that if the dual campuses failed to work, the university could close the Carlisle campus. Most board members said they would never agree to that condition.
"It's very satisfying to see it end up the way it has," said state Sen. Hal Mowery, R-Cumberland.
Mowery fought for state money to renovate the Carlisle campus and sponsored an amendment to the state Sunshine Act that opened the law school's board meetings to the public.
ELIZABETH GIBSON: 249-2006 or firstname.lastname@example.org INFOBOX: THE PLAN
The Dickinson School of Law's board of governors hopes to launch a $50 million renovation project with funding from: *A $25 million matching grant from the state capital budget fund. *$15 million in funds from Dickinson alumni and charitable grants. *A $10 million contribution from Penn State University.
HOW THEY VOTED A ?yes?? vote was a vote to retain one campus and to defer action on Penn State's two-campus plan. LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Harrisburg -- Yes Helen S. Balick, Wilmington, Del. -- Yes Zygmunt R. Bialkowski Jr., Scranton -- No Ward A. Bower, Newtown Square -- Yes William R. Caroselli, Pittsburgh -- No J. Michael Eakin, Harrisburg, -- Absent Anthony C. Falvello, Sugarloaf -- Yes Kathleen P. Galop, Madison, N.J. -- Yes Hubert X. Gilroy, Carlisle -- Yes M. Fletcher Gornall, Erie -- Yes Joseph M. Harenza, Reading -- Yes Shaun D. Henry, Harrisburg -- Yes Jan R. Jurden, Wilmington, Del. -- No Lewis Katz, Cherry Hill, N.J. -- Yes Edwin L. Klett, Pittsburgh -- No Sidney D. Kline Jr., Reading -- No Jason P. Kutulakis, Carlisle -- Yes Joan Dawley Maher, Carlisle -- Yes James G. McLean, Pittsburgh -- No G. Thomas Miller, Harrisburg -- Yes Leslie Anne Miller, Harrisburg -- No H. Laddie Montague Jr., Philadelphia -- Yes Michelle Moore, Atlanta -- No Joseph Nadel, San Francisco -- Yes Christylee Peck, Harrisburg -- Yes Arthur L. Piccone, Wilkes-Barre -- Yes Sylvia H. Rambo, Harrisburg - - Yes Thomas J. Ridge, Washington, D.C. -- Yes Dale F. Shugart Jr., Carlisle -- Yes Donald C. Smaltz, Torrance, Calif. -- No J. Rodman Steele Jr., West Palm Beach, Fla. -- No Tracy L. Steele, Philadelphia -- No Donald C. Taylor, Wilmington, Del. -- No Nathan H. Waters Jr., Harrisburg -- Yes Sandor Yelen, Wilkes-Barre -- Yes
TABULAR OR GRAPHIC MATERIAL SET FORTH IN THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT DISPLAYABLE
PHOTO; DAN GLEITER; Caption: This is an artist's rendition of a renovated and expanded Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle.; Rodney Erickson, Penn State vice president and provost, said university trustees next month will discuss spending $10 million to renovate The Dickinson School of Law.