Progress on New Law School Building Prompts ABA to Halt Accreditation Review

October 28, 2004

Citing progress made in recent months by Colorado Law on the adequacy of the school's physical facility, the American Bar Association has terminated its accreditation review. In 2003, the ABA found the law school building out of compliance with accreditation standards. Now that the school is proceeding to construct a new building, the ABA said its concerns are being addressed. In a letter to law Dean David Getches and CU President Elizabeth Hoffman dated Oct. 13, the ABA accreditation committee stated, "The University of Colorado and the Law School have made significant progress in addressing the school's deficiencies" under ABA standards, causing the committee to "terminate the proceeding previously initiated" on the status of the school's accreditation. The groundbreaking for the new building has been set for Nov. 12 with construction to begin in January. The building is scheduled for completion by the fall 2006 semester. Getches said he was gratified to receive the ABA decision. "A green light for our new building not only puts the accreditation issue behind us, but also makes the school's future look even brighter." The decision follows months of meetings and communications with the ABA committee following a site inspection of the law school in 2002. The inspection led to the issuance of a letter to the dean in summer 2002 finding the school out of compliance with the standards for accreditation based on the building's inadequacy. Much of the ABA's concern centers on inadequate space for the law library. The new law building was approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education in 2000 and the Legislature that year appropriated $2 million for the project. But later in 2000 the CCHE revised the amount of private fund raising required for the building from $8 million to $12.8 million. In 2001 the Legislature appropriated another $8.8 million for the building but then rescinded the appropriation, took back all unspent funds and canceled all state capital construction projects. More than $8 million in privately raised money will support the construction and $5.6 million has been added from CU-Boulder reserve funds. Students will be the largest contributors, paying $26.9 million of the total building costs through a law school tuition differential of $1,000 a year, which began in 1999, and a $400 a year assessment of all 29,000 CU-Boulder students. Last April's decision by the CU student government made the construction possible, replacing anticipated state funding of more than $21 million. The assessment will begin upon completion of the building, slated for fall 2006, and will be phased in with a $100 a year student fee hike. The fee will rise by $100 a year to $400 a year after four years. The CU-Boulder student government approved the fee hike in spring 2004. The proceeds will be adequate to finance not only the new law building but also three other construction projects on the Boulder campus. Contact: David Getches, (303) 492-3084 Jeannine Malmsbury, (303) 492-3115