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ABOR, City of Phoenix advance relocation of ASU law college to downtown Phoenix


December 11, 2012

The Arizona Board of Regents and the City of Phoenix have taken steps to advance the relocation of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to downtown Phoenix. The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) approved Arizona State University’s capital improvement plan, which included ASU’s new-building planning. In addition, the City of Phoenix authorized a land lease for the building and an investment of $12 million in the project.

The new building, the Arizona Center for Law and Society, is scheduled to open in 2016. Located on a square block bounded by First, Second, Taylor and Polk streets, the Arizona Center for Law and Society will join several other ASU colleges and schools downtown, including the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the College of Public Programs, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and University College.

The City of Phoenix will invest $12 million in the project, which will consist of a 250,000- to 300,000-square-foot building in which the College of Law will be the primary tenant.

“The ASU community appreciates the support we have received from Mayor Stanton and from the members of the City Council for the College of Law's move to downtown Phoenix,” ASU President Michael Crow said. “The downtown location is a thriving center of legal, corporate and government activity across metropolitan Phoenix as well as statewide. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to partner with the city of Phoenix and to deepen our ties to the downtown community as we enter the third phase of our downtown campus."

“Thank you to ASU, President Crow, my fellow council members and the Arizona Board of Regents for working so diligently in making this innovative move to our growing downtown Phoenix urban core,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “This is more than just a move – it’s a major part of our city’s and region’s future and a place where ideas from some of the best law students in the country will contribute to our justice system and make Phoenix and Arizona a better place to live for generations to come.”

“Moving downtown is a logical next step for us,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the College of Law. “In addition to providing us with modern space, moving downtown will further increase job opportunities for our graduates by bringing us closer to many of the region’s largest private and public employers, and will also enhance the wide array of hands-on clinical opportunities, externships and pro bono experience we provide our students. It will also enable us to be more actively involved in the Phoenix legal community through continuing education, graduate programs and collaborative conferences with an array of downtown entities. 

“Our downtown location will also allow us to increase the financial benefit we provide the region in free legal services by placing us in closer proximity to community organizations in particular need of legal assistance,” Sylvester continued. “We currently provide $10 million in pro bono legal services per year to local community organizations and indigent individuals. We expect this financial benefit will increase dramatically by virtue of our downtown move.” 

Design work will begin immediately and the schedule calls for construction of the Center for Law and Society to begin in May 2014 and be completed in late 2015. According to Phoenix officials, the project is expected to create 1,000 construction-related jobs and generate $1 million in sales-tax revenue for the local economy.