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Oklahoma City University trustees approve law school move to downtown

The Oklahoma City University Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a proposal for its law school to move downtown into the former Central High School.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: October 24, 2012 at 10:19 pm •  Published: October 24, 2012
/articleid/3722044/1/pictures/1865709">Photo - The former Central High School and new OCU law school is at 800 N Harvey in downtown Oklahoma City.
The former Central High School and new OCU law school is at 800 N Harvey in downtown Oklahoma City.

The 177,000-square-foot structure was designed by Andrew Solomon Layton, a prominent early-day Oklahoma City architect who also designed the Skirvin Hotel, the state Capitol and structures on the university's campus. The building was given up by Oklahoma City Public Schools almost 30 years ago when it was sold to Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Co. purchased the building from SBC Oklahoma in 2005.

The company, which expanded out of state and changed its name to American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Co. in 2007, put the property up for sale in 2010 after determining the property was too large for its operations.

Close to connections

The new law school home is being promoted as an exceptional location with close access to courthouses and many of the city's law firms, with enough capacity to hold classrooms and the law library under one roof.

OCU President Robert Henry said the building also will serve as a venue for some of the university's special events, including entertainment performances and business functions.

“This is a significant move for our law school, our university, our Oklahoma City,” Henry said. “OCU students will have more opportunities for access to courtrooms and major law firms, which is a valuable addition to their learning experiences. Many will move downtown, further vitalizing our growing and vibrant city. On the Oklahoma City University campus, this move creates new opportunities for several other expanding programs.”

The move is seen by supporters as an economic boost for downtown thanks to approximately 550 students, and nearly 100 faculty, staff and administrators working in the city's core.

Norick said the move downtown provides symbiotic benefits for the school and the city.

“We will be glad to join the fast-growing downtown business community,” Norick said. “This move will benefit our law students tremendously and add hundreds of young professionals to downtown Oklahoma City.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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