CHICAGO-The John Marshall Law School in the South Loop recentlyannounced plans to expand by 50,000 square feet. The additionsinclude the recently-purchased 38,000-square-foot retail and officeproperty adjacent to the school on Jackson, and a new $6 millionnew entrance in place of a current Walgreens store on State Street.

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The three-story 19 W. Jackson property, which is anchored by theDollar Daze Store, is between buildings already owned by the lawschool. John Corkery, dean of the school, tells GlobeSt.com thatthe tenants will remain until their leases expire.

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The new space joins nine floors of faculty office space theschool bought 15 years ago at 321 S. Plymouth Ct., as well as themain campus at 315 S. Plymouth and Fair Housing Clinic space at 55W. Jackson. The entire campus is about 255,000 square feet. “It’staken us awhile to fill up the 321 building, we still have somespace there. This new purchase gives us space to expand to in thefuture,” Corkery says.

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Until then, the school will focus on a new entrance on 304 S.State St., replacing the Walgreens in space John Marshall owns.Construction will begin in April to remove the drugstore, and theentryway should be complete in 2012. The project includes $2million for a new lobby, $1.5 million for a new student commons and$1 million for a bookstore and student lounge. The new entrywaywill open up the 111-year-old law school to pedestrian traffic,Corkery says.

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The school had considered construction of a new building , ormoving to another area of the city, he says. “We investigated, andprojected what the costs might be. However, we started right aboutthe time of the economic downturn, and we realized those planswould be a pretty big stretch to undertake. Then this opportunitypresented itself,” Corkery says.

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With 1,600 students, the school is one of the vibrant suppliersof the residents and customers for local condo, apartment andretail stores, and joins a few downtown colleges that help fuelactivity in the downtown. A few of the other downtown colleges,including Columbia, DePaul and Roosevelt, also have expansionplans.

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