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Let there be light

|Written By Kirsten McMahon - Law Times

Osgoode Hall Law Schoolwill be giving its incoming class of 2008 something that previous graduateshave been asking for since the law school moved to York Universityin 1969: windows in the classrooms.

Photo: Cliff Spicer Thomas Heintzman of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, and Mark Young of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, doing construction.
Photo: Cliff Spicer Thomas Heintzman of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, and Mark Young of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, doing construction.
"I can tell you that since I've become dean the number one question I get from alumni is when are we going to put windows in the classrooms at Osgoode," said Patrick Monahan. "When I became dean, I resolved that one of the things I was going to do before I finished my term was to get windows into the large rooms."

That resolve paid off this June when contractors began to install windows in classrooms 104 and 204, thanks to donations from two large Bay Street firms with Osgoode connections.

"The opportunity arose this year when Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP agreed to fund a renovation of room 204, which was the last large room that had not been upgraded into an electronic classroom," said Monahan. "And it happens that the managing partner of Cassels Brock is Mark Young, who's a graduate of Osgoode, and when we discussed the renovation with Mark we proposed to him that for an additional amount we could put a window in the classroom.

"When he heard that he immediately said we had to do it because this has been a real source of complaint and he said we have to find the additional money to do that and he went to his partners and they agreed to fund the additional amount."

Monahan then went to Tom Heintzman, a senior partner with McCarthy Tétrault LLP and also an Osgoode alumnus, to see whether McCarthys would be interested in donating money to install a window in their classroom as well.

"I went to them because the McCarthy Tétrault room is immediately underneath the Cassels Brock room and explained to them that Cassels Brock was funding the renovation and that they were going to put a window in their room and we would like to put a matching window in the McCarthy Tétrault room, which had already been renovated.

"They more or less agreed on the spot that they would fund the additional cost, because they, particularly Tom, were also very concerned about this issue of no windows," he said.

Cassels Brock donated $275,000 to upgrade room 204 into an electronic classroom that provides wireless Internet access for students. The firm also provided an additional $25,000 for the window project. McCarthys donated $250,000 to upgrade the classroom several years ago and recently provided an additional $25,000 for the window installation in room 104.

The construction will be complete just in time for the new school year in September, Monahan said.

"We're going to have an official opening of the new Cassels Brock room and also the window in the McCarthy Tétrault room in the fall. But they will be operational when the students arrive and I think it's going to be something of great interest to our alumni because this is something that everyone who's a graduate of this school talks about."

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