As the town meeting, held in the La Fetra Lecture Hall, drew to a close March 2, several issues were on the agenda. Among them: an update on the American Bar Association Accreditation and the Campus Development Master Plan, the unveiling of a University Retreat and the need for parking, parking and oh yeah, more parking.
“We need to have a plan, we need to have a vision and we need to know how we are going to achieve that vision,” said Steve Morgan, University president.
The president reported on the current status of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) property and several other development opportunities. When escrow finally closed back in July 2005, ULV acquired half of the MWD property, while the City of La Verne retained ownership of the other half.
The University also acquired 20 acres of land from ULV trustee Mike Brown as well. The Brown property sits adjacent to the MWD property.
“It just about doubles our land inventory,” Morgan said. “In two moves and just a few years we were able to build a land inventory that does well for the development of this campus and the City of La Verne.”
Yet, the acquisition of new properties, as well as the construction of the Campus Center are not enough to meet the long term objectives of the Master Plan.
The plan includes developing a more marketable identity, addressing issues of space, program enhancement and the increase of professional activity.
“It’s absolutely essential that we remain competitive and gain some ground as an institution to become more attractive to more students,” Morgan said.?
The discussion of the University’s needs has ultimately led to a three-phrase master plan.
While in the first phase, plans include the Campus Center Project, the demolition of Stu-Han, the renovation and expansion of Founders Auditorium and the construction of several surface parking lots within the next five years.
“We need to provide more parking if we are going to build more space,” said Rodger Hardy, vice president of major projects and campus development.
In the next 15 years, phase two and three will also bring the conversion of certain athletic fields into surface parking, the introduction of structured parking, the renovation of several existing structures and the construction of new academic buildings.
“All our best interests are served by having this happen as smoothly and as quickly as possible,” Hardy said.
Hopefully, the University Retreat planned for March 15 will aid in the swift implementation of current changes being made here on campus as well as the upcoming ones.
“We intend to set goals and objectives for the future of the University,” said Al Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs.
The retreat will serve as a brainstorming workshop for strategic planning amongst the faculty and administrative staff of ULV.
Not only does the campus development currently underway promise to strengthen the presence of the University with in the community, but the recent ABA accreditation as well.
“This is an exciting time, it elevates not only the law school, it elevates the University,” said Don Dunn, dean of the College of Law.
It’s obvious that news of this landmark moment has already made its way outside of the University.
“I was at the QE2 (The Queen Elizabeth II) this past weekend… and I typically wear my University of La Verne College of Law ball cap; the ticket taker said to me, ‘I heard you got accreditation,’” Dunn said. “It was a really nice feeling.”
Even though the College of Law will be in provisional ABA accreditation status for at least the next two years, law students will still enjoy the same rights and privileges of a fully approved law school.
The festivities have already begun. In order to mark this milestone there will be a celebration held at the College of Law on April 21. The excitement surrounding the ABA accreditation seemed to lighten everyone’s sense of humor about rising anticipations.
“I expect that the next step will be that we’ll have a Supreme Court justice from the University of La Verne,” Morgan said.
Christine Collier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.