Phillip Gragg has been busy cataloguing and organizing thousands of books. As the new director of the George R. White Law Library at Boise's Concordia University School of Law, he is charged with preparing the library, part refuge, part research hall, ahead of the school's inaugural classes on Aug. 27.
"We have about 99 percent of what we need for the first-year law students," said Gragg. "We had about 3,000 books donated to us, bringing the library to 8,000 books. When we reach 12,000, we'll be at about 50 percent of capacity."
Thumbing through those legal encyclopedias, some of them occupying whole bookshelves, will be the 75 students who will make up the first class of Boise's newest law school. In May, Citydesk joined a group of Idaho media to tour the 54,000-square-foot facility.
But a selection of the school's first class spent part of their Tuesday afternoon anxious to talk about their inaugural experience.
"The best place for my family, as well as myself, was Boise, and hands-down this school," said Craig Cannon, who relocated his family to Boise from Ellensburg, Wash.
The father of two girls is expecting his first boy—due a week before finals. While he worked on a political campaign in Ellensburg, he hopes to be an attorney and work in the private sector upon graduation. He also hopes his mother-in-law will help with the children.
Lisa Carlson, a mother, graduated from Boise State with a degree in biology. But now she's pursuing a legal degree, having waited since 2008 for Concordia to open. She said relocating to Moscow's University of Idaho Law School wouldn't have worked for her family.
"Rumor had it that [Concordia] was coming, so I've just been waiting," she said.
Carlson is also part of Concordia's Student Bar Association, prepping for a newly crafted student government. She has three kids, ages 5 to 9, and lives with her husband, a software developer, in Star.
"The commute is about 25 minutes," she said.
Each new Concordia student is being paired with a Treasure Valley legal professional, including members of the Idaho Judiciary and local attorneys.