Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to School: Award-Winning Campus of the Appalachian School of Law

We have a law school that looks like a law school!

An ABA accreditation team found:  “The physical structure . . . is an especially imaginative and thorough-going remake of a . . .  public school facility.  It has a high degree of functionality, is a thing of beauty, and dominates the landscape of the town and environs.”
The Main Building
Appalachian School of Law uses a renovated Depression-era school, built as a WPA project in a Jeffersonian-architectural style, for its main campus building of 45,572 square feet.  It houses most of the classrooms, administrative offices, and faculty member offices. 
Those Depression-era masons so soundly laid the original brickwork that ASL’s founders made no structural change during renovations in 1997. The renovation project earned an award from the American Institute of Architects and has drawn other acclaim.     

The ABA accreditation team also noted:
"As in the case of most mountain towns, the small valley is intersected by a creek as well as a roadway, and the village-like joining of the three facilities in the picturesque setting, astride the mountain stream, is really quite lovely – and more than that, conducive to the kind of study, reflection, and discourse one would hope for in a residential learning community.  The School has clearly learned how to draw strength from its environment.  What others might see as imposing limitation instead has become a clear asset."

The Main Building also offers a central area for socializing in the Lions' Lounge, a space named after two historic wood sculptures of lions.

The school created a new student lounge this past summer.

The two-story Main Building surrounds an open courtyard, in which ASL has placed movable patio tables, chairs, and plants.  ASL uses the space for classroom discussions, student parties, cookouts, the Graduation Celebration, and for other special events.  Local residents often use it for weddings.

Landscaping enhances the appearance of the 3.5 acre campus.  The area in front of the Main Building consists of a lawn with large, mature trees, a flower garden around the marble ASL sign, a lighted fountain in the cement walk leading to the front entrance of the Main Building, and outdoor benches near and under the trellis area.  Students and faculty, as a community service project, planted over 300 flower bulbs, over fifty perennial mums, and 50 trees on the grounds.  

The Library
A covered walk-way connects the Main Building and the Library.  The founders of ASL extensively renovated the adjacent Library building in 1998.  In 1951, it began as an elementary school, consisting of 24,780 net square feet.  The building provides a modern, well-organized, and technically advanced library for use by the students, the faculty, and the local legal community.

The Booth Center
In mid-2006, Alex Booth, a successful businessman with original ties to the Buchanan County community, launched the construction of a building for higher education within Buchanan County by providing the original seed money.  The contractors completed construction of the 49,369 square foot building in the fall of 2007, with ASL first offering classes in its portion of the building on January 7, 2008.  In this space, ASL uses a large classroom, a conference/seminar room, and offices for the Business Office, Career Services, Institutional Development, and Alumni Relations.

Overall, the campus provides a comfortable learning environment that is grounded in the history of southwest Virginia. 

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