Construction of ASU’s law school is expected to bring $1.7 million in tax revenue, 1,000 jobs

(Sierra LaDuke/DD)
Construction of the ASU law school is expected to create $1.7 million in tax revenue and bring 1,000 construction jobs downtown. Once built, the school could add an additional $170 million direct economic impact, 100 new faculty jobs and up to 1,000 new students. (Sierra LaDuke/DD)

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s relocation to downtown Phoenix is expected to create $1.7 million in tax revenue and 1,000 construction jobs, a city official said earlier this week.

Community and Economic Development Public Information Officer Cynthia Weaver said the law school’s construction expands the downtown economy during development and beyond.

“The Arizona Center for Law and Society is an approximately $129 million investment in the heart of downtown Phoenix,” Weaver said in a statement.

Weaver said research done by the city and Arizona State University indicates the new law facility will add to the current $170 million direct economic impact of the downtown campus through the potential addition of 100 new faculty jobs and up to 1,000 new students.

“As a result, this project will create additional demand for housing, increase the population of people visiting downtown businesses and will continue to grow the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus,” Weaver said.

She added the full extent of the Arizona Center for Law and Society’s economic impact will be more apparent when the facility is fully operational.

Law school Director of Development Jim Van Wicklin said the Arizona Center for Law and Society creates multiple new opportunities for students.

“One, (downtown) clearly is where all of our students are working,” Van Wicklin said. “It just makes no sense for us to be in Tempe when all the major law firms are downtown; all the business is downtown. In addition, we are interacting with a lot of the downtown campus, like Cronkite, and the health program for our health law students, and a lot of others, so it was a good move for us.”

Van Wicklin said the center will not only house ASU’s law school, but a variety of other social initiatives, including a pro-bono law clinic and a legal aid center for sex trafficking victims.

Van Wicklin said the university has helped finance the project through its Building the Future Campaign. He said the university’s goal is to raise $50 million for the new law center, and it raised more than $12 million through the campaign last year alone. He said contributions to the campaign address a variety of costs associated with the new law center, including the creation of new scholarships for future students.

Lew Laws, a senior project manager at DPR Construction, said his company serves as the general contractor for the construction of the new law facility. Laws said the project is one of the largest DPR has ever undertaken in the Valley, with construction contracts of about $94 million.

Laws said about 180 construction workers are currently working on the project, and about 300 workers will be working on the site during the peak of construction in 2016.

Laws added that a variety of specialized workers have been employed during construction of the center, such as the crane operators for the 550 ton hydraulic crane that blocked parts of Taylor Street last week.

Law school communications director Janet Perez said interested students can learn more about the project through the Arizona Center for Law and Society’s website, or through a website created by ASU and DPR Construction. Perez said the center is expected to open in the fall of 2016, and will hold classes for undergraduate and graduate students.

Contact the reporter at Connor.Murphy@asu.edu.