Approximately 200 people including local businessmen and women, representatives from the Idaho Supreme Court and Idaho Court of Appeals, Concordia University officials, Mayor Dave Bieter, members of the Boise City Council and representatives from Senators Crapo and Minnick's offices, gathered for the groundbreaking ceremonies at the site of the new school at 501 S. Front Street this morning.
Mayor Bieter, who graduated from the University of Idaho School of Law, said the new facilities would spur new developments in the area to support the population of the school, as well as provide a “boost to the economy and the caliber of the workforce.”
“As a University of Idaho alumni, it’s hard to welcome a school other than U of I, but Boise is a first-come-first-serve city and we’re glad to have you here,” Bieter said.
Bieter also felt the presence of the law school would boost educational opportunities for Boise State students.
The Portland, Ore.-based Concordia University is a private, Lutheran, liberal arts university. They have already purchased the two story, 17,000 square foot building that used to house Oaas Laney and Adecco for the purpose of a law library, and plan on building a 30,000 square foot space to house classrooms, reading rooms, conference areas and offices. The first floor will also be host to a legal clinic, which can be accessed through a Front Street entrance.
A major theme for the speakers at the dedication ceremony was that of service.
"Our university is only as great as the communities we're a part of, and our graduates need to be perceived as making a difference in the lives of others," said Concordia President Dr. Charles Schlimpert.
Dean of the new law school, former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Cathy Silak, described how the school will provide practical legal experience for its students while at the same time, serving the community.
“In our legal training we give increasing emphasis on the moral development of students training in the law school, such as the study of legal ethics and exploration of legal issue,” Silak said. “In helping to advance the education of our students we hope to create legal clinics with the intended purpose to legally serve traditionally underserved populations and partner with organizations that work with those communities.”
Cheryl Wright, Vice President of Finance and Administration at the College of Western Idaho said the community college maintains partnerships with state universities, as well as George Fox University, said the new school is a huge benefit to the students of CWI.
“With partnerships with other universities we give our students an avenue to pursue two years of undergrad and eventually move into a law school,” Wright said. “And just as a citizen, to have a law school within a metropolitan area provides more opportunities for residents and its nice to have a law school to serve the needs of that population.”