April 8, 2004
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., AP -- Rutgers University will expand its law school in Camden under a $31 million plan adopted Thursday by the school's Board of Governors.
The law school addition will include offices, classrooms and a moot court complex. It is expected to expand community service and programs aimed at giving students practical experience, and to help enhance the city.
"Through this project, and many others, Rutgers-Camden is committed to working with our neighbors to bring new vitality to our host city," said Roger Dennis, provost of Rutgers' Camden campus.
Dennis said the construction will meet the area's increasing demand for professionals with graduate degrees.
Governors also unanimously approved an $8 million plan Thursday to construct a new nursing school building in New Brunswick. The choice of that location, on the campus of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, had prompted critics to accuse Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick of a conflict of interest because he is on the hospital's board.
Land is to be leased by the school from the hospital for $1 a year.
"I believe it's a conflict of interest," Dorothy Demaio, a retired dean of the nursing school, told the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick in Thursday's editions. "In any situation, if you're representing one group, you cannot have a voice in the other group. It's logical."
McCormick said he serves on the boards other institutions that have relationships with the university.
"My complete allegiance is to Rutgers," he said. "In advancing the College of Nursing building and everything else I'm supporting, I exclusively have in mind what's best for Rutgers. What's best for the hospital has not entered into my calculations."
The nursing school building approved Thursday will be paid by $4.5 million raised by the school, and $3.5 million in bond sales.
The 16,000-square-foot building will include classrooms, offices, an intensive care learning laboratory and some space devoted to the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2006.
More than 250 nursing students study at Rutgers' New Brunswick/Piscataway campus.
The law school project will be paid by an $11 million state grant and by the sale of $20 million in school bonds.
The law school addition is expected to be a 50,000-square-foot building across the street from the current school, which will be renovated under the plan. The university is in negotiations to buy the site, the school said in a statement.
Rutgers-Camden is the only law school in the area without a simulated courtroom, the university said. Students currently use real federal and county courthouses in Camden.
Construction at the law school is slated to begin in summer 2005 and be completed summer 2007. Rutgers-Camden law school currently enrolls 774 students during day and evening classes.