The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is $4 million closer to a new building, thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

University officials said the gift, announced on May 11, will help pay for state-of-the-art 155,000-square-foot facility. Besides classrooms, the building will house a new training program for local and state prosecutors, said dean Hiram Chodosh. The school has been working with the National District Attorneys Association on the project, which is intended to give local and state prosecutors training opportunities similar to those their federal counterparts enjoy. The school hopes to expand those opportunities to public defenders in the future, he said.

The building will alleviate the problems with the facility it will replace, which was built in the 1960s. An accreditation team from the American Bar Association recently characterized the structure as having too little classroom and student space and poor energy efficiency.

A larger building will allow Quinney to bring its law library under the same roof as the rest of the law school, Chodosh said.

Architectural plans for the new building have not been finalized, but it will include a 450-seat conference center, and space for clinical programs and a new center on innovation in legal education, Chodosh said.

“The donation from the LDS Church will support the college’s efforts to construct a building that will produce incalculable reputational benefits and substantial economic value for the community,” he said.

Presiding Bishop Gary Stevenson said a new building for the law school would benefit both the University of Utah and the larger community.

The school plans to finance the entire $60.5 million project cost through private donations, Chodosh said, and has raised more than half that amount during the past year and half.

While the new building will be approximately 50 percent larger than the existing structure, the school has no plans to increase enrollment. Plans call for construction to begin in 2013 and end in time for the 2014-15 academic year.

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