By Mark Reutter U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar will be among the speakers Sept. 8 at the rededication of the UI Law Building. The ceremony honoring the $12 million renovation and expansion of the College of Law's building will be held at 3 p.m. at the university's Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. It will be followed by a 4 p.m. ribbon-cutting event at the Peabody Drive entrance to the new Peer and Sarah Pedersen Pavilion at the Law Building. Ginsburg will deliver a speech at the Krannert Center on "The Importance of Legal Education," and the university will present her with an honorary doctor of laws degree. Ginsburg was nominated to the high court in June 1993 by President Bill Clinton and began her duties as an associate justice last August. Other scheduled speakers at the rededication ceremony are Gov. Edgar, UI President Stanley O. Ikenberry, UI Chancellor Michael Aiken and Kenneth R. Boyle, chairman of the UI Board of Trustees. The rededicated Law Building "begins a new era for the College of Law," said Thomas M. Mengler, dean of the law school. "Already I sense among our students a renewed spirit of pride in their law school. Among the faculty there is an optimism that with vision and energy we can together move the school in new directions." The rededication completes a decade-long effort by administrators, alumni and faculty to update and expand the college's physical facilities. The existing Law Building, built in 1956, did not have the space to meet the changing needs of legal education. The college was forced to lease space from the university's main library to house its books. Classrooms and staff offices were cramped, students lacked lounge areas, and the heating and air conditioning plant was obsolete. "It was becoming clear that the serious shortcomings in the building were limiting the college's ability to fulfill its educational mission," Mengler recalled. Following a lengthy internal review, administrators and the faculty determined that a capital campaign was needed to raise the funds for a major building renovation. The campaign began in 1985 under national chairman Albert E. Jenner Jr., a 1930 graduate of the College of Law and a leading partner of the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block. Chicago attorney Peer Pedersen, a 1948 College of Law alumnus, took over as volunteer chairman of the campaign in 1986 after Jenner suffered a stroke and later died. Pedersen's pledge of $750,000 - one of the largest gifts ever received by the college - gave "the campaign momentum and provided the impetus to approach others," Mengler said. Private donations have contributed $6.8 million to the project, and the state of Illinois provided a matching grant of $5 million. About $200,000 was borrowed from the university. Construction proceeded in stages as funds became available. During the summers of 1988 and 1989, the auditorium, three classrooms and a seminar room were completely remodeled. In June 1992, expansion of the building was begun under plans developed by the Chicago architectural firm of O'Donnell, Wicklund, Pigozzi & Peterson. By "wrapping around" the existing structure with new construction, 50,000 square feet - 67 percent more space - would be added to the college. Through the 1992-93 academic year, students dodged barricades and the faculty taught over the constant roar of jackhammers as the building was torn apart and reconstructed. T-shirts humorously depicted the hazards of academic life under construction siege. As the dust settled last winter, college members found themselves in a new and lively environment. "As we began to use the space, we discovered to our delight that the facilities surpassed our own expectations," Mengler said. Among the improvements: * The Peer and Sarah Pedersen Pavilion. Created by enclosing the previous exterior courtyard with a stepped, three-story structure of glass and aluminum, the pavilion connects the two main entrances to the building and contains Lorado Taft's plaster bas relief commemorating the historic 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates. * Albert E. Jenner Jr. Memorial Library. With greatly expanded space for the college's nationally recognized collection of books and journals, the library seats 316 patrons and has 50 computer workstations for student use. * Louis A. and Leon L. Lamet Memorial Faculty Wing. The three-story northwest wing contains 50 offices for faculty, an expanded faculty library, lounge space and a small kitchen for faculty and staff. * Max L. Rowe Auditorium. The largest room at the college received a thorough facelift, and its new seating arrangement allows the room to double as classroom space and to host college-wide events. * Huizenga Commons. Comprising 2,000 new square feet on the east side of the building, the commons offers the building's first cafeteria service and includes a student lounge and television room. * Edward and Mae Hong Career Services Center. The center, next to the Pedersen Pavilion, doubles the size of the former student career services center. New landscaping and a rebuilt parking area completed the physical transformation of the college. "When we rededicate the facilities next week, we will celebrate the many contributions of our alumni and friends that have helped bring the college to this state of excellence," Mengler said. "We are going to have a great party."