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Indiana Tech's law school gets go ahead

Indiana Tech’s law school is cleared for construction.

The Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday unanimously supported the proposed three-story, 70,000 square-foot building at the west end of the university’s campus on Washington Boulevard.

The project’s development plan received approval from the city’s plan commission on Monday, but it needed the OK from the zoning appeals board to construct the school on land with a residential and commercial zoning.

Pat Hess, attorney for the university, said the law school fits the needs of the community because it would be the first such law school in the city. This would allow Fort Wayne residents to study law without commuting or moving, and hopefully make it more likely for those graduates to stay in Fort Wayne, he said. It would become the fifth law school in the state.

The three-year, full-time school hopes to have 100 law students when it opens in the fall of 2013, Hess said, and that will increase to 360 students once it’s in full operation. Classes will run from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., although students will have access to the law school at all times with a key card.

It will employ 21 full time professors, 12 to 15 adjunct faculty and about 25 administrative staff, Hess said.

One resident said she was concerned that increased traffic would cause problems in an already congested and dangerous area, but Hess said precautions have been taken to ensure the area is safe.

Access to the school will be from Comparet Street, which borders the complex and connects Washington Boulevard and Maumee Avenue.

A $2 million library will accompany the law school, as will a legal clinic in which to practice court cases.

Big Brothers OK’d

The board also unanimously approved a plan to allow Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana to move into one of the buildings on the former Taylor University Campus.

The organization will occupy the first two floors of Witmer Hall, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd., on the now dubbed “Summit Campus,” which is owned by Ambassador Campus Properties. The entity will move from its location at 2439 Fairfield Ave. Ambassador plans to do more than $800,000 in renovations on Witmer Hall before Big Brothers Big Sisters moves at the end of the year.

The move is intended to give the organization room to grow, according to attorney Tom Niezer, as well as give it access to many of the other amenities located on the campus.