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Law school unveils expansion plans

The John Marshall Law School will be able to open its doors to State Street in the coming years.

Officials at the school unveiled plans Monday to expand its downtown campus -- including adding an entrance that will face South State.

Construction of the 50,000-square-foot expansion will begin in April, with a goal of finishing by fall 2012.

The expansion includes using 38,000 square feet at 19 W. Jackson, which is now anchored by The Dollar Daze store. It will also use 12,000 square feet in the building it owns at 304-308 S. State, now home to a Walgreens in the ground level.

"We had to consider what to do with the space, and we decided to use it for student resources," said John Corkery, the law school's dean.

"John Marshall's new State Street entrance gives us more of a presence along that South Loop educational corridor, and the expanded space will help consolidate our classroom, administrative, student group and clinical facilities," Corkery said in a statement. "We have long considered expanding our campus, and the right opportunity finally presented itself."

When the work is done, the school will more closely share the area with universities such as DePaul and Robert Morris, as well as Columbia and Roosevelt.

The law school is launching the work to accommodate a growing student body, which is now up to 1,600.

The school last expanded in 1996 when it purchased nine floors in the nearby 321 S. Plymouth Court building, which is considered the main campus.

A student commons area is the plan for the State Street property, giving it a feel much like the other schools nearby. They are "still reviewing options" for the site on Jackson.

Zoe Barker