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University of Nevada, Las Vegas law school facilities: memos






Folder contains memorandums from the Dean of Administration to the Law School Advisory Committee and the Physical Plant Planning Committee. From the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law Records (UA-00048).

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sod2023-034. University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law Records, approximately 1968-2002. UA-00045. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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MEMORANDUlyl October 26, 1973
Dean of Administration

TO: All Members of the Law School Advisory Committee

The first meeting of the Facilities Sub-Committee met on the University campus on October 10, 1973. We were joined by Mr. Jack G. Perry, Mr. Tom Foley,
Mr. Alvin Wartman, and Mr. George Dickerson from the Nevada Bar and by Dr. Ralph

"Roske and by Dr. Lome Seidman from our parent Advisory Committee.

The purpose of the meeting as called was a simple one: to go over some of the options with respect to law school facilities in a preliminary way. As convener I opened the meeting with a request that the committee name a permanent chairman. This matter was laid on the table by a consensus. We then turned to the business of facilities.

Most of the meeting consisted of a report only somewhat more detailed than that which I gave the whole committee at its first meeting. We had thought, possibly, to go somewhat beyond this; but the conversations became increasingly interesting on what were for us the ancillary questions but which are of course the principal concern of the total committee, namely the case for the law school, the kind of a law school, the size of a law school and all of these very substantive things. Where it may be temporarily and how it may be permanently housed are really quite subsidiary to these greater questions. In retrospect it occurs to me that it would

have been better for this committee to hang back until the other committees are pretty well established in their work. However, no harm resulted from our rather early meeting. It was simply that the agenda's of the other committees weighed heavily on us.

Turning to the facilities question directly I reported in terms of a minimum estimate of space requirements at the time of opening with cruder estimates of space requirements several years into the future, the number depending on the growth rate of the school. It was assumed—although of course not decided—that for planning purposes the size of the school in its first year would be the minimum viable size as suggested by ABA standards. A tabular representation of what I told the committee appears on the following page. With reference to that

tabulation, it was clearly noted that it was a common sense, order of magnitude effort and that it was not at this stage researched in any way. Mr. Foley had available detailed space allocation data from the new law school at Lehigh Univer­ sity and we discussed it to some extent reaching the conclusion that the table's figures for a law school of 120 students were crudely comparable to the Lehigh figures for a law school of 400 students. Several new law school buildings, a study of which might yield useful data, were mentioned, among them; University

of Puget Sound, Lewis and Clark College, Willamette University, University of Montana and as was just mentioned, Lehigh. BYU was also mentioned but it was felt to be too large and too rich to offer us much in the way of instructive precedent.

There was some discussion of long and short run options with respect to the housing of a law school. 1 think everyone agreed that the best of all possible solutions would be a brand new building designed especially for the law school. No one could ask for more.' It was recognized that the law school might well have to get under way before a new building could be completed, and this led to a discussion of temporary housing which in turn led to a discussion of other long range options



Page 2;

I ; i



AT 3-7

|A. Book Space
j80,000 @ 10 per sq. ft. 8,000


Reader Station
60 at opening (50% of an assumed enrollment

of 120 when three classes are in attendance) @ 30 sq. ft. per student

C. Staff Space
(25% of reader stations)


D. Offices Three 0 150


Faculty.(6 0150) (20 0 150)

Two 0 150 300

Law Review
Other 400


Classrooms (3 0 600) Classrooms(60 600) Moot Court/Lecture


Student Faculty


2,000 3,800


400 1,000





6,000 1,500

450 27,950

3,000 500 400 400 4,300

3,600 2,000 5,600


400 1,000






500 1,800



short of an entirely new facility. This discussion, too, paralleled roughly the discussion we had in full committee weeks ago.

It now appears that the Boy Scout building (if it were to come into the University's possession and with only 7,200 sq. ft.) could be only a temporary home for the firstyearorpossiblytwoofoperations. Itisprobablethatmy17,250feet required "at opening" is generous but a full three year program could certainly

not be crowded into this space even temporarily. Accordingly, if the Boy Scout building were to serve as a nucleus for a permanent plant it could be just that—a nucleus. The committee was told that the Boy Scout property was appraised at
something like one third of a million dollars and that appraisals varied substantially.

We talked about what has long been thought to be an excellent solution for the law school location problem, namely the library. With 82,000 assignable square feet Dickinson Library is considerably larger than it needs to be to house the law school for the foreseeable future. Release of Dickinson Library for law school purposes depends upon the possible construction of a new library and certainly a project of that magnitude will take considerable time. If date of availability were the sole criterion here, it would probably be quicker to build a new law school than to

build a new library. The committee was told that an analysis was being made of additions to the library as an alternative to the construction of a new one.

We then talked for a time about conversion of Tonopah Hall, the dormitory, to a law school. With 60,000 square feet approximately 79% assignable, Tonopah Hall is comfortably larger than the immediately foreseeable requirements of a law school. Its location is excellent as are the locations of the library and the Boy Scout building. A wide open question has to do with the architectural and engineering feasibility of converting Tonopah Hall. If I got the consensus of the meeting it was that the state of Nevada should not run a second rate law school under any circumstances and this qualitative consideration should apply to space as well as to faculty and the program. On the other hand, Tonopah Hall is relatively new and sound and if it could be tastefully and soundly converted it might well represent either a short run solution or possibly, and at best, a long run solution.

The conclusion was simply that the University either has, can get, or can make available qualitatively and quantitatively adequate space for a law school as soon as it needs to do so. Naturally, this might be short of the ideal—a new building— which all would like to see.

The meeting concluded with general agreement that this particular sub-committee has - no occasion to meet again until after the other sub-committees and perhaps the

parent committee have met again.






November 27, 1973 Dean of Administration

Physical Plant Planning Committee Brock Dixon, Dean of Administration

Agenda for Meeting
December 3, 1973
Room 730, Humanities Building 3:00 p.m.

  1. Preliminary assessment of the Buildings and Grounds Department's space needs. (Morton)

  2. Preliminary assessment of space needs for a Law School. (Dixon)

  3. Some cash flow consideration relevant to the planning process. (Westfall)

On December 10 we will devote the day to Mr. Erickson's report on Library planning.