CARBONDALE — A Southern Illinois University official says the school is considering having a satellite office for its law school in downtown Springfield or Edwardsville.
John Charles is SIU's director of government and public affairs. He told The State Journal-Register that the university's board of trustees has encouraged SIU's president to conduct a market study to help determine which city is a better fit for the law school.
The Southern Illinoisan reported earlier this month that SIU trustees discussed the satellite law campus during a board retreat at Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Makanda. At that time, SIU System President Randy Dunn said he had been in preliminary talks to pursue a satellite campus in Sangamon County, but did not want to go further without the board's general approval.
"It would not be both (cities). It would be one or the other," Charles said.
Charles said the law school building would remain on the Carbondale campus. He said the satellite office would help the school expand and further its regional presence.
According to Charles, discussions of having "a law school presence in downtown Springfield of some kind has been talked about for 25 years or more." He said the university has already tapped into the "great medical community in Springfield with the SIU School of Medicine," which opened in 1970.
Charles said students would benefit from a satellite office in Springfield because they'd have access to state government activities at the Capitol. He added that workers within state agencies seeking a law degree also could be prospective students.
"We are moving quickly as we can," Charles said. "We don't have a definite start date (for the market study).
Charles said formal conversations also need to be had with city and county leaders about creating the satellite.
The SIU School of Law currently has more than 300 students.