Arizona State Hits Law College Construction Milestone

PHOENIX — Nearly a year after Arizona State University (ASU) in Phoenix beginning construction on its new Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Arizona Center for Law and Society building, the campus community gathered again to mark the project’s topping out. The June 9 event was an important milestone for the 280,000-square-foot, $129 million facility, which will hold its first classes in August 2016.

The new law building will include 18 classrooms, a large lecture hall and a state-of-the-art active learning courtroom classroom. It has been lauded as a substantial improvement over the law college’s existing home inside Armstrong Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus, which it has outgrown. The soon-to-be-completed structure is also situated nearby Phoenix’s legal district, and will allow the university to attract more high profile national events, conferences and lecturers.

“The Arizona Center for Law and Society is another wonderful addition to our growing campus in the heart of Phoenix,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow at the official November 2014 groundbreaking ceremony. “Having the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in downtown Phoenix fits perfectly with ASU’s mission of building strong learning and career connections with media, health care, corporate and government organizations for the more than 11,500 students at the downtown campus.”

In addition to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law spaces, the facility will also include a retail space on the first floor consisting of the bookstore and a café, as well as an underground parking structure. The Ross-Blakely Law Library, currently housed in a separate building on the Tempe campus, will also be moved to the new facility.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Center for Law and Society will include space for two think tanks; multiple centers with cross-disciplinary focus, including the Lincoln Center; and the new ASU Alumni Law Group that will house the first teaching law firm associated with a law school, according to a statement by the university.

“I hope everyone here understands what an incredible achievement this building represents,” said Doug Sylvester, dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said in a speech at the topping out ceremony. “It reflects the fact that you can’t do this alone and that you need community partners to achieve great things. This is an exciting moment for all of us.”

Nearly 80 attendees signed their name to the final 49-foot metal beam, which was then fixed into place by Redwood City, Calif.-headquartered builder DPR Construction, which maintains a regional office in Phoenix. Ennead Architects, with offices in New York and Shanghai, and Jones Studios Inc. of Phoenix each served as lead architects.

Funding for the sprawling new facility — which will serve an estimated 1,000 students upon completion — was partially provided by the city of Phoenix. The city specifically contributed both the land and an additional $12 million in construction bonds to support the development of the Arizona Center for Law and Society. ASU has also embarked on a capital campaign to raise an additional $50 million in donor contributions.