The new Savannah Law School (SLS), a branch of ABA-accredited Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS), today announced its purchase of the historic 110,000-square-foot Warren A. Candler Hospital building for its campus at 516 Drayton St. near Forsyth Park in Savannah. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Originally built in 1819, the Candler building has sat mostly vacant since 1980 when the hospital relocated to its current Reynolds Street address. The building will undergo major renovations over the next several years with completion of the first phase in time to welcome the school’s inaugural class of full- and part-time day and part-time evening sessions later this year. Once completed, the renovations will represent one of the largest projects to restore an historic property in the United States.
“Purchasing the hospital building marks an important milestone as we prepare to open Savannah Law School in the fall,” said Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the school. “We are delighted that our campus will be located in the heart of Savannah’s historic district and provide a comfortable learning environment for our future students.”
Markovitz said the main historic structure on the property was chartered in 1791 by the Georgia Legislature as a seaman’s hospital, making it the first hospital in the state. With the acquisition of the building, Savannah Law School is also purchasing and will preserve the Candler Oak Tree, listed on the National Register of Historic Trees as Georgia’s oldest oak trees.
“The transfer to the Savannah Law School accomplishes my primary objective of returning this singular piece of Savannah architectural history to productive use,” said Reed Dulany, who purchased the property from Atlantic Southern Bank. “I am confident that the law school’s diverse student body will add to our already vibrant downtown community.”
Savannah Law School, which recently completed its faculty appointments, will soon announce the project team of local architects, engineers and contractors who make renovations that will preserve the historical integrity of the 193-year-old edifice. The project team will work alongside the Historic Savannah Foundation to ensure proper conservation of key structural elements.
“We are committed to the Savannah community and to serving the legal system in and around the Atlantic Coastal region,” says Richardson Lynn, Dean and Professor of Law at Savannah Law School. “We understand the importance and legacy of the property and want our new campus to represent the culture and heritage of Savannah and the neighborhood.”
Prospective students can learn more about the campus and meet new faculty at the school’s open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 28, 2012, at the Armstrong Center, 13040 Abercorn St. in Savannah.