Perhaps the most pressing issue facing the UND School of Law is the adequacy of our building. Our law school building, constructed in 1923, has had only one major upgrade in 90 years — the addition of the law library in 1973. While our beautiful old building represents the legacy of generations of North Dakota lawyers, in the 21st century we simply have outgrown the four walls of our original home.
For the third legislative session in a row, we are putting forward a state funding request to dramatically improve our existing building. As North Dakota's law school, our graduates serve our communities and support our economy—and the education we provide should be of the highest possible quality.
The School of Law's building project is the result of our most recent reaccreditation site visit in 2007. At that time, the ABA's site visit team called the law school's overall facility "less than adequate." The site visit team stated that a major addition to and renovation of the law school building were "critical to the success and future of the School."We wholeheartedly agree.
In response to the 2007 site visit, we developed a capital construction proposal for the law school. To address the concerns raised in the 2007 report, the School of Law urgently needs additional educational space, a minimum of 2 additional classrooms, a teaching courtroom with full technology, and improved clinic space for teaching, client confidentiality, and safety; additional student study and work space for cocurricular organizations like Law Review and Moot Court, for extra-curricular organizations like Student Bar Association and Law Women's Caucus, for quiet study space, for collaborative work space, and for student services such as Career Services; and improvements to address safety issues like secure entrances and the ability to close off public access to the law school building outside of business hours.
As we prepare for our spring 2014 ABA reaccreditation site visit, we know that the adequacy of our educational space will be an issue. The talent and ambition of our students and the excellence of our educational program have simply outgrown our existing building, today even more so than in 2007. Our capital construction proposal envisions a building that inspires the best work of our students, faculty, and staff, and makes the difference between an adequate law school and an excellent law school for North Dakota in the decades to come.
Kathryn R.L. Rand Dean, University of North Dakota School of Law