The squeaky floor is gone from inside Trickett Hall, but none of the memories have left the place for George Cornelius.
The current secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development toured the renovated Carlisle campus of Dickinson School of Law Wednesday.
Dean Philip McConnaughay said contractors have only cosmetic work to complete on the $50 million renovation and expansion to the 91-year-old Trickett Hall. He expects construction to wrap up on Jan. 4.
Staff and faculty will begin moving over equipment this Friday from the Advantica building in Middlesex Township, McConnaughay said. Plans are to use next week to unpack and prepare the campus for the return of students on Jan. 11, the start of the spring 2010 semester.
A 1983 DSL graduate, Cornelius said he wished such a modern facility was available when he was a law school student. Walking through Trickett Hall brought back memories of him being the law clerk for the late Judge Dale Shughart, who had a corner office in the building.
“He was such a fixture of the school,” Cornelius said. “He was a character.”
The project began in January 2008 with the demolition of the 1963 and 1978 additions to Trickett Hall along with “the curtilage,” a collection of small brick buildings on South College Street that once served as faculty offices.
Lewis Katz Hall was constructed in the area between Trickett Hall and the 1985 addition. It includes three seminar rooms, three large classrooms, two conference rooms, a courtyard, a commons area and a 200-seat courtroom/auditorium.
Each lecture space is equipped with state-of-the-art technology allowing classes at the Carlisle campus to be connected electronically with classes taught at both the University Park location and around the world, McConnaughay said.
He explained how Dickinson School of Law is unique among law schools for being accredited by the American Bar Association for both its distance education curriculum and its dual campus concept.
New law library
Trickett Hall, meanwhile, has been renovated to house the H. Laddie Montague Jr. Law Library, a legislative hearing room and an audio-visual server and control room. Nancy Lamont, assistant dean for admissions, explained how part of the work involved the restoration of the columns at the main entrance to Trickett Hall, which were heavily damaged by wood rot.
McConnaughay said the Carlisle campus has capacity for 400 to 500 students and 100 staff and faculty. With the Carlisle campus now complete, Penn State plans to continue the development of its School of International Affairs through a broader relationship with both Dickinson College and the Army War College, McConnaughay said. “That has a lot of potential of becoming increasingly significant over the years.”
Cornelius said he is very impressed not only by the renovated Carlisle campus, but by how the law school has so improved its standing in recent years that it has been able to draw world-class faculty. “It is a gem for the town,” he added.
The 1985 addition has been renovated to house faculty and administrative offices, a cafe and rooms for seminars and interviews.