Raleigh, N.C. — City officials confirmed Thursday that Campbell University's law school would relocate to a downtown Raleigh office building by 2009.
The Campbell Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to move the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law from the university's campus in Buies Creek to Raleigh, board Chairman Harold Wells said.
"The world we live in is changing," Wells said. "Relocating to Raleigh is in the best interests of the school."
School administrators said the move from rural Harnett County would give the 345 law school students more access to internships with law firms and clerkships with judges.
"Our graduates are part of the fabric of North Carolina," law school Dean Melissa Essary said. "We look forward to building upon our heritage with new opportunities in Raleigh."
About 70 percent of the law school's 2,800 graduates practice in North Carolina, including about 500 in Wake County, Essary said.
Raleigh is the largest state capital in the U.S. without a law school.
Mayor Charles Meeker said the move would capitalize on Raleigh's strength as "a center of education and public service."
Essary, Campbell University President Jerry Wallace and other faculty members were downtown Wednesday afternoon, having their photo taken in front of Hillsborough Place, the office building at the corner of Hillsborough and Dawson streets that will house the law school.
Wallace referred to "The Andy Griffith Show" on Thursday in talking about the importance of moving the law school downtown from Buies Creek.
"As Barney would say to Andy, going to Raleigh is big," Wallace said, eliciting laughs from the dozens of people gathered for the news conference.
Tenants of the building, which is owned by former state lawmaker Art Pope, said they were notified by letter Wednesday that the 107,000-square-foot building would be sold to Campbell by early next year.
Frank Holding Jr., president of First Citizens Bank, will oversee a fundraising campaign to renovate the building for the law school, Wallace said.
Since it was founded in 1976, the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law has been honored by the American Bar Association for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program and having the nation’s top Professionalism Program.