UDM Law readies to dedicate new clinic

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University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Dean Lloyd Semple is clearly delighted with the nearly-completed George J. Asher Law Clinic Center as he relaxes in the new reception area. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Photo by Steve Thorpe

By Steve Thorpe
Legal News

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law will officially dedicate the George J. Asher Law Clinic Center on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 5:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception.

The School of Law purchased the historic Detroit Fire Department’s Engine 2 at 585 Larned Street, a half block from UDM’s Riverfront Campus, in February and renovated it to serve as the new home for its law clinic programs. Its historic character was preserved through spiral staircases, exterior red fire doors, and a lookout tower.

The facility’s opening is in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the school’s founding and the 47th anniversary of its first Urban Law Clinic.  The two-story facility will provide more than 6,000 square feet of space for the school’s 10 legal aid clinics. 

Funding for the project came from a principal gift made by UDM alumnus Anthony A. Asher, managing partner of the law firm of Sullivan, Ward, Asher, & Patton, P.C., in memory of his brother, George J. Asher, who was a student at the School of Law when he died. Additional support came from the heirs of Walter Buhl Ford III, who were the immediate past owners of the building, and the McGregor Fund. The building is known as Walter Buhl Ford III Hall.

In an effort to be environmentally responsible and energy efficient, the school is seeking LEED Certification for the facility. The renovation included the replacement of the windows, an energy efficient HVAC system and a new insulated white roof .

Many recycled materials were used and an effort was made to obtain regional materials from within 500 miles of the project site. The design utilizes the 41 windows in 6,200 square feet to provide abundant daylight views and assure that every occupant will have a direct sight to the outside and the ability to open windows on the second floor.

For energy efficiency, motion sensors are installed throughout the building and ‘daylight harvesting’ is also being used to conserve energy and lower operating costs.

To retain the character of the building, much of the historic glazed brick was kept along with the two spiral staircases. The old fire bay doors were removed and used as a template to recreate the look of the doors and re-install as insulated walls.

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