“Today’s meeting involved a good discussion about the University at Buffalo’s strategic plan and the university’s role in the economic development of our community.”
This statement was issued jointly after yesterday’s meeting in which University at Buffalo President John Simpson and Congressman Brian Higgins discussed any role UB might play in regard to the future of the Statler Towers. The dialogue came a result of last Saturday’s press conference in which Higgins attempted to kill two birds with one stone, suggesting UB move their School of Law to the Statler Towers, rather than South Campus, thereby increasing UB’s presence downtown and saving the venerable structure.
Last week, Higgins stated in a letter to UB President John Simpson that UB 2020’s final square footage, which will amount to 54 percent in Amherst and 46 percent in the City of Buffalo, simply wasn’t enough. “…The interests of the university and its city would be best served if more functions were moved downtown,” Higgins letter read.
After the meeting, the two stated, “Today’s dialogue also left open the concept of locating the Law School in downtown Buffalo, within the context of UB’s overall master planning. It also opened the door to the university’s involvement in the community’s planning about the best future use of the Statler Towers.”
Though the Comprehensive Physical Plan for UB’s three campuses has been called a “flexible living document” in all of its stages of development, the general consensus among UB officials regarding a separation of the law school from related professional schools has not been looked at as a “fit” when the idea of moving the law school to the Statler has come up in the past. In fact, UB officials believe that it would be much to the advantage to a greater body of students, as well as the surrounding community, to anchor the School of Law on South Campus, along with the School of Education, School of Architecture and Planning, School of Social Work, professional programs in the School of Management, and various business incubators.
Currently housed on the Amherst Campus, the UB 2020 plan calls for the School of Law to move to the South Campus as soon as funding permits, replenishing the student population lost there as the five schools of medicine move downtown to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“We agree that the planned move of UB’s five health-related schools to Downtown Buffalo is an immediate priority, representing a great opportunity to jump-start an innovation-based economy and we will work to examine additional opportunities toward this goal.”
At present, local developer Rocco Termini has stated that he would undertake the redevelopment of the Statler on the basis of the School of Law’s commitment to being a tenant there.