For the first time in nearly a century, the Yale Law School is expanding its physical campus.
Renovation on Baker Hall, located a block away from the Law School’s main building — whose 1931 construction marked the Law School’s most recent expansion — began on July 27. The physical expansion of YLS into the 100 Tower Pkwy. site, scheduled to finish next August, allows residential life to return to the Law School community. Donors to the project interviewed said their main motivation behind the donation is to create a more immersive atmosphere within the Law School community.
“When I was at Yale Law School, being able to live there made for a wonderful learning environment and is a reason that many alumni retain a closeness to their classmates throughout their careers,” Kevin Tierney LAW ’67, who donated $100,000 for the initiative, said in an email. “Restoring the possibility of residence at YLS seemed to me a worthy cause.”
The expansion, first planned under former Law School Dean Robert Post LAW ’77, was made possible by donations totalling $60 million from law school alumni — including $25 million from Christina and Robert C. Baker ’56 LAW ’59.
Baker Hall will add 137,000 square feet to the Law School campus and will contain dormitories, classrooms and student centers. The building, located at 100 Tower Pkwy., previously served as overflow housing for Yale College, housing annexed students from one-third of the residential colleges.
“With this extraordinary commitment from our generous alumni, Yale Law School will have the space our students need to thrive,” Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a press release. “This isn’t just a beautiful building, but a crucial investment for our future.”
David Massey ’92 LAW ’97 said he applied for on-campus housing when he was a law student but was placed in a distant dormitory that was “less than ideal.” He added that as an Ezra Stiles College alum, he is happy that more law students will soon be near that area of campus.
Joel Greenberg LAW ’73, a partner at an international law firm based in Washington, D.C., recalled that he lived in one of the two entry ways specially reserved for law students in Silliman College during his first year and in Sterling Law Building for the following two years. He said he felt a “real loss” when the residential facility disappeared over time.
“For a lot of people, going to law school for the first time is a different experience than being in college. It is helpful to be living among others who are going through the same thing,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg added that he appreciated the school’s plans to give Baker Hall nonresidential functions to make it a true part of the school with residents and nonresidents alike going back and forth between the buildings.
A total 205 students matriculated to the Yale Law School class of 2020.
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