ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus

In this August 2012 file photo, Arizona State University President Michael Crow (left) talks with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (right) at a groundbreaking ceremony for a student-funded $25 million expansion of the recreation center at ASU's Downtown Phoenix Campus. [Sarah Blais/Cronkite News]

Sarah Blais/Cronkite News

The Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law has taken a few steps toward relocating from Arizona State University’s Tempe campus to its downtown Phoenix campus.

“Moving downtown is the next logical step,” said Douglas Sylvester, dean of the law school, in a press release. “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.”

This month, the Arizona Board of Regents approved ASU’s capital improvement plan, which included the new building.

The Phoenix City Council approved city staff to begin negotiations and to enter into contracts with ASU to develop the Arizona Center for Law and Society on city-controlled property.

It will be located on the square block between First and Second streets, and Taylor and Polk streets. Costs for the new six-story building are estimated at $100 to $120 million and it should open in 2016.

Phoenix is investing $12 million into the project, which is estimated to produce about 1,000 construction-related jobs and $1 million in construction sales tax, according to ASU and Phoenix press releases.

“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 said. “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.”

The facility will also house continuing legal education facilities, community legal services, public retail amenities and approximately 200 to 250 parking spaces.

“This is an investment that makes sense for ASU College of Law, its students, and the city of Phoenix,” Councilman Bill Gates said in a press release. “The move will position one of our nation’s top public law schools within walking distance of local, state and federal courts, our state’s top law firms and business headquarters.”

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2014, with a completion in late 2015. It should open the following spring.

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