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Natural Resources Center plans in works

ASL has purchased the home at 1432 Walnut St. to house the future Appalachian Natural Resources Law Center and Clinic.

1432 Walnut St.The facility, just a short walk from campus, would also house the Appalachian Journal of Law and the Appalachian Natural Resources Law Journal.

The center would offer the school's joint certificate in graduate study in natural resources law, a partnership with Virginia Tech, and would aim to recruit and hire a specialist to develop a Master of Laws program in natural resources law.

Representatives of the Natural Resources Law Clinic would provide legal assistance, advocacy and services to citizens and organizations from the region. The center also would sustain a close relationship with the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation. ASL is one of only 11 law schools on EMLF's governing board.

"ASL needs to distinguish its program from others," said Dean Wes Shinn. "Carving a niche in the natural resources law area is not only a natural fit with local interests, but is a fit within the mission served" by ASL.

Renovation plans call for three classrooms, several offices,student work space, and a caterers' kitchen, said Wendy O'Neil,director of development for ASL. Plans would aim to keep as much of the home's historical integrity as possible, she said.

The classrooms would be fitted with SMART technology,including sophisticated computers, networking, software, audience-response technology, and up-to-date audio-visual capabilities.

ASL hopes to have the 6,000-square-foot facility renovated and ready for use by the 2012-13 school year.

"The Center will permit us to partner with other institutions in the region that have academic and research programs in natural resources, with ASL as the only law school inside the region providing the currently missing legal analysis component to projects undertaken by others," Shinn said.