Construction was still evident Monday outside Lewis Katz Hall on the campus of Dickinson School of Law.
Crews worked steadily to finish construction efforts on both the new hall and the renovated Trickett Hall.
But that didn’t stop law students from returning to classes at the historic campus situated on South College and West South streets in Carlisle.
Monday was the first day back for students.
Inside the buildings it was business as normal as students, some toting books and notepads in their arms, shuffled down the corridors while others worked on laptops in common areas.
Every once in a while, a construction worker or someone working to set up the school’s extensive audiovisual systems would walk past.
“It’s a world of difference,” said Adam Deluca, a second-year student, of the new building.
Deluca said he spent time on the campus before renovation and construction work began, as well as at the former Advantica building, the law school’s temporary home along Harrisburg Pike in Middlesex Township.
The school moved to its temporary location in 2006 when work was about to begin at the Carlisle campus. Those temporary digs cannot compete with the newly remodeled and constructed buildings, Deluca said.
“It’s a lot nicer then staring at a truck stop across the street,” he said, referring to the former Advantica building.
Classic exterior, modern interior
From the outside of Trickett Hall, the building looks, more or less, as it did when it was built in 1918.
But on the inside, it’s a whole new, more modern look — something Kate MacKenzie, a third-year student, likes.
The Texas native said she’s happy the school opted to keep the brick facade of Trickett Hall while updating the building’s interior.
The commute to class also got a lot shorter, MacKenzie said.
While the school was located at the former Advantica building a car was required to get her to class; now it’s just a short two-block walk.
“I love walking down here,” MacKenzie said.
However, Deluca said, the new building has its shortcomings.
Though Katz Hall features a host of places to sit and study, Deluca said, they aren’t exactly private. Most of the seating is in common areas in the corridors.
Parking is limited, he added, and could cause some problems when it comes to finding a parking space close to the campus.
Despite its downfalls, officials say the new law school boasts many more positives.
The H. Laddie Montague Jr. Law Library is updated and covers three floors; it boasts private study rooms and an endless supply of research materials.
Each lecture room has the latest teaching tools that allow classes at the Carlisle campus to connect via a high-definition, digital audiovisual telecommunications system with classes taught at both University Park and around the world, said Nancy LaMont, the assistant dean for administration.
One sports law class recently linked up with students in Illinois, British Columbia, Australia and Cape Town, South Africa.
The law school is the only one in the nation to boast such technology, LaMont said.
“We’re the nation’s pilot program,” she said.
The video equipment also allows students to view their performances in the 200-seat courtroom/auditorium. One camera is strategically positioned behind the jury box so students can see how they look when addressing jurors during class or mock trials.
Each class is also recorded and the recordings are kept for 14 days and are available to be viewed online by students of the classes, LaMont said.
With the world of law turning to technology as a means to cut costs and make the judicial process more streamlined, knowledge in technology learned at the school will transcend to the workplace, she added.
“Our students are going to be ahead of the game,” LaMont said.