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A lawyer for a group who opposes the planned demolition of Smith Hall will appeal a city ruling this week which allows the razing of the 99-year-old building. Alan Kaplan, a lawyer with Sugarman and Associates, a Center City firm which concentrates on environmental and preservation issues, said the legal appeal of the Licenses and Inspection Board decision will be filed today or tomorrow with the Court of Common Pleas. Earlier this month, the Licenses and Inspections Board upheld a Philadelphia Historic Commission decision which allows the University to tear down Smith. Kaplan said it is likely the University will attempt to have his appeal dismissed because of a recent state Supreme Court decision that makes the commission's historical designations powerless. The ruling, called the Boyd Case, said that the city's historic preservation law is unconstitutional. The court agreed last month to rehear part of the case, in which the owners of a Center City theater challenged the constitutionality of the Historical Commission's designation of the theater. Kaplan said the success of his appeal hinges on the possibility that the court will modify or change their decision in the Boyd Case. "If a decision remains as it is now, there is no way the University can lose," Kaplan said. He emphasized that simply because the court is going to rehear the case does not necessarily mean anything will change. He added, however, that the court felt there was "enough concern about [the decision] that they took the unusual step of reviewing it." Kaplan said the state Supreme Court will probably not rehear the case until November. In addition to the legal appeal, opponents of Smith's demolition are also submitting forms to have the building recognized on the National Historic Register. The former Laboratory of Hygiene is currently listed on the Historic Register as a building in a recognized historic precinct, but the new recognition would list Smith specifically as a landmark. But the designation would not make a difference in the fight to save the building, History and Sociology of Science graduate student Julie Johnson said yesterday. Smith Hall is at the center of a controversy between preservationists and the administration because it is the proposed site for the Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. Opponents of the planned Institute argue that Smith Hall is a historic building and destruction of it will ruin that section of campus, which is currently filled with 19th century buildings. Part of the funding for the proposed Institute comes from a Defense Department grant. This is also causing controversy because opponents claim the ties to the Pentagon will require researchers to work on weapons. The administration denies this statement and says the University prohibits research which cannot be published. History and Sociology of Science Professor Robert Kohler said Sunday that the University might bend under pressure from long legal appeals and should be willing to consider a compromise. "Protracted court battles might very well bring their funding into question," Kohler said. "I don't think the Department of Defense is going to sit around and wait for the University to finish in court. It is in their interest to compromise." "It is like a rare book," Kohler said. "And I don't like to see rare books burned and trashed."

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