Nearly three years after the initial announcement, the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center finally opened it doors to the city of Nashville and to students in Belmont’s new College of Law.
“I am thrilled Belmont is on track to produce our next great crop of Nashville lawyers,” Nashville mayor Karl Dean said during the official ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 21.
What started as an 18-month project was delayed roughly four months because of minor setbacks in the construction of the interior of the building.
In 75,000 square feet, the law center will house 20 faculty offices, modern courtrooms that can be used by the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Supreme Court occasionally, a multi-story law library and a five-story parking garage underneath.
The project cost approximately $32 million. It is named in honor of former Belmont trustee Randall Baskin and his wife, Sadie. The couple gave $7 million to the project.
Baskin told the crowd he had envisioned that one day a building at Belmont would have his family name.
“What can I say other than this is a great day for the Baskin family,” he said.
This fall will be the first time the program is permanently housed on the main campus. Last year’s charter class of 132 was forced to hold two sessions daily to accommodate size. This will no longer be the case.
As a member of the charter class, Mollie Wakefield is beyond pleased with the new building.
“It’s going to spoil us,” Wakefield said.
However, it wasn’t the promise of grandeur that brought her here. It was her first impression.
“I was very pleased with my experience. The dean took time out of his day just to talk to me,” Wakefield said. “It was just an experience I never had before, especially with a school just being started up.”
Wakefield and the rest of the charter class are entering into their second year, while the second class officially started the three-year program before the ceremony.
Currently, the college of law is unaccredited, but will host American Bar Association officials next month as they attempt to gain provisional accreditation.