Fifteen months after starting classes, Jacksonville University’s College of Law will move into a new Downtown campus next summer.
The College of Law has signed a long-term lease for more than 50,000 square feet on four floors of the historic former Atlantic Bank Building at 121 W. Forsyth St.
The college will move from its temporary home in the VyStar Tower, where it has occupied 15,000 square feet on the 18th floor.
The new space will allow expansion for more classes, faculty and staff, the college said. The building at Hogan and Forsyth streets, built in 1909, will be renamed for the Jacksonville University College of Law.
The law school’s founding dean, Nick Allard, said the school is “proud and energized” to be able to move into the new space, close to the city’s federal and county courthouses as well as City Hall.
““It is a priority for us to maintain a presence and contribute to the city’s vibrant, growing urban core, and we look forward to being part of the rapid development of Downtown Jacksonville,” Allard said in a news release. “Our location is ideal, especially for our students, who regularly make good use of the libraries and observe law in action in the county and federal courthouses. This keeps them embedded in the legal epicenter of the region with unparalleled access to these invaluable resources for learning.”
The JU College of Law was created in 2022 and received a $5 million investment from the city, which characterized it as a spark for Downtown and an effort to fill a shortage of lawyers in Florida.
The college became the state’s first new law school in more than two decades, stepping into the educational gap left on the First Coast by the closure of the the Florida Coastal School of Law. Florida Coastal lost accreditation in 2021 and ended classes after the summer semester.
As it ends the fall semester of its second academic year, the law school will continue to hold classes in the VyStar Tower until the new space is renovated. The new four-story site at Hogan and Forsyth streets will be renovated to include flexible classroom space, study and common areas, meeting rooms, faculty and staff offices, and library spaces.
JU said that the city will continue to support the law school with a planned investment of $6.5 million in 2024 for the $12.5 million project.
“This is exactly the type of transformational project that Jacksonville needs in its Downtown revitalization goals — the economic vitality of hundreds of college students living and learning in the Downtown core and the preservation of one of Jacksonville’s iconic historic buildings,” the city’s chief administrative officer, Karen Bowling, said in the news release.
That city’s investment is subject to approval by City Council.
Lead image: The Jacksonville University College of Law will move to the 121 Atlantic Place Building. | Monty Zickuhr, Jacksonville Daily Record