Louisiana College Purchases Building in Shreveport for Law School

February 15th, 2011

Pineville, LA. …Louisiana College president, Dr. Joe Aguillard, and Louisiana College School of Law founding dean, J. Michael Johnson, announced the College’s agreement today to purchase and renovate one of downtown Shreveport’s largest landmarks to serve as the home of the new law school. Classes are scheduled to begin in August 2012. 

The property, formerly known as the Joe D. Waggonner Federal Building, is strategically located at 500 Fannin Street, on one full city block in the Central Business District.  The building is situated two blocks west of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of La., one block west of the La. Second Circuit Court of Appeal, and is adjacent to the new Shreveport Convention Center.

“We are delighted to announce this decision,” said Dr. Aguillard. “The Federal Building offers all the space we will need to serve our students and provide a superior program of legal education. Once our renovations are complete, this will be one of the premier law school facilities in the nation.”

Built in 1972, the nearly 160,000 square foot building has eight floors and five high speed elevators.  As the former federal courthouse, its amenities include three furnished courtrooms and an attached garage with 300 parking spaces.

The building, which has been vacant for several years, will require an eight month asbestos abatement process, followed by a renovation.  

Federal, state and local officials have expressed their enthusiasm about the school’s location decision and pledged their fervent support.  “This is an exciting development for downtown Shreveport and our entire community,” said Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover. “It’s a classic win-win-win situation for all involved.” 

By acquiring and restoring the vacant Federal Building, Louisiana College will benefit from a large, perfectly-suited facility and the novelty of operating a law school out of a former federal courthouse.  Meanwhile, the City will benefit both by having a new influx of graduate students and activity, and by having one of its largest and most important buildings returned to use. 

“The law school represents another opportunity for Downtown Shreveport. The Downtown Development Authority/Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation look forward to the additional people, additional excitement and additional activity that the school will bring,” said Liz Swaine, DDA Executive Director.  “We are also thrilled that the long-vacant Joe D. Waggonner building will see the investment that will put it back into commerce.” 

Louisiana College announced its plans to locate its new law school in downtown Shreveport last fall, following a lengthy feasibility study.  Initial plans to renovate another downtown high rise were changed after it was determined that building could not be expanded to the size needed to accommodate the school’s projected enrollment of 330 students by 2014.

“This is a final decision that makes sense to everyone,” said Dean Johnson. “Our students will love the location and space of the Federal Building and its many unique features. We look forward to the exciting days ahead as we continue the hard work of building this important new institution.”

School officials are working steadily on all aspects of the startup, including the accreditation application processes through the American Bar Association and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  “We remain on target for our schedule, and we are very grateful for the overwhelming support and enthusiasm we are receiving locally and nationally,” said Dean Johnson.