Architects discuss plans for UND law school expansion
UND faculty and staff got a preview Tuesday of an expanded and renovated law school.
Architects and planners of the $11.4 million project were on hand at the UND Memorial Union to present conceptual designs and floor plans at the start of a three-day visit to campus. The final design, however, won't be completed until the end of the year before construction begins next spring or summer, said David Rose, architect and planner at SHW Group based in Plano, Texas.
"We started this project without drawings or plans," said Kathryn Rand, dean of the law school, the only one in the state. "Instead we started with a strong sense of our needs."
The law school is busting at the seams, officials said, with enrollment growing from 203 in 2005 to 250 this year. The state Legislature allocated the $11.4 million for the project during the last legislative session.
"We've known that we have a great need for improved educational space, as well as improved study and workspace throughout the law school," Rand said.
Much of the renovation of the law school will focus on mechanical upgrades, like heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The addition of a 15,000-square-foot space on the north side of the law library's stair-like façade will include classroom, office and conference room space.
Rose, who was joined by SHW colleague Craig Necci and Todd Mitzel, principal architect at Icon Architectural Group, said project planners are trying to balance needed renovation and preserving the historic parts of the law school complex with new construction. Target costs for the base renovation total about $4.2 million, while new construction totals about $3.8 million, according to the presentation.
"We're trying to find the sweet spot between these two extremes," Rose said.
State Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Grand Forks, said planners seem to be making the most of what the Legislature gave for the project.
"My impression is that they're off to a very good start," Sanford said.