Architect and building planning committee announced for University of North Dakota School of Law building project


Peter Johnson

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Law


University of North Dakota President Robert O. Kelley has named ICON Architectural Group in partnership with SHW Group to lead the addition to and renovation of the UND School of Law. ICON, with offices in Grand Forks and Fargo, N.D., is a premiere architectural firm in the Upper Midwest. SHW Group, headquartered in Texas, is a national architectural firm specializing in education facilities. Together ICON and SHW Group bring extensive experience working in higher education, specifically with law school building projects across the nation.

"We are pleased to have ICON in partnership with SHW Group lead our law school building project and help shape the reconstruction of the UND School of Law," said Kelley. "This addition will be critical to UND's School of Law—North Dakota's only law school—in shaping the legal community in our state and serving the legal needs of its present and future generations."

The 2013 North Dakota Legislature and Governor Jack Dalrymple approved an $11.4 million appropriation for the building project. The total will include an addition to the current School of Law building and a renovation of its current space.

In addition to naming the architect, Kelley has also appointed a formal committee to oversee the building project. UND Law Dean Kathryn Rand and Professor Paul LeBel, former Dean and Provost, will co-chair the seven member Building Planning Committee. The Committee is charged with working with the architects to provide effective coordination, implementation and communication in the design phase, as well as ongoing support when the construction begins. The planning will involve all members of the law school community through the use of design focus teams addressing issues related to instruction, research, student experience, administration, and library and information services.

Kelley also appointed 11 external advisors from the University and the legal profession who will be available to the Committee to provide input, feedback, and expertise during the planning process. These advisors include Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court; Nancy Morris, president of the State Bar Association of North Dakota; Fargo attorney William Guy; and Levi Andrist, who practices in Bismarck, N.D.

Rand is excited to begin the process of reshaping the UND School of Law. She said, "Thanks to the funding provided through the 2013 Legislature and approved by the executive branch, as well as the tremendous support of our alumni and friends, we are poised to engage all of our constituencies in an exciting process of thinking about how a new and renovated facility can meet the needs of legal education for the next 50 years."

According to LeBel, the Committee is enthusiastic about the team with whom they will be working. "ICON has a proven track record on our campus, including the first major law school renovation project, the Molbert Room, completed in 2006," said LeBel. "SHW Group specializes in education facilities and has extensive experience with many law school projects. Our committee will be working primarily with SHW Group's Detroit office, so we are looking forward to an inclusive and thoughtful process to adapt cutting-edge and best practices that will meet the needs of our students, our faculty, and North Dakota citizens for the foreseeable future."

Building Planning Committee Members include:

Kathryn Rand, Co-chair, Dean, UND Law School

Paul LeBel, Co-chair, Professor of Law Julie Simon –Vice chair, Director of Finance and Administration Mike McGinniss, Assistant Professor of Law Trish Hodny, Director of Career Services Brad Parrish, Assistant Dean for Student Life Dave Haberman, Head of Student Services, UND Law Library

Committee advisors include:

  • Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice, North Dakota Supreme Court
  • Nancy Morris, Attorney, Erik R. Johnson & Associates, Ltd., Fargo, N.D. and State Bar Association of North Dakota President, 2013-14.
  • William Guy, Attorney, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., Fargo, N.D.
  • Levi Andrist, Attorney, Vogel Law Firm, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Susan Walton, Vice President for University and Public Affairs
  • Lori Swinney, Director of Center for Instruction & Learning Technology
  • Rick Tonder, Director, Campus Capital Projects and Planning
  • Peggy Lucke, Associate Vice President for Finance & Operations
  • Fawn Behrens-Smith, Architect, Facilities
  • Larry Zitzow, Director of Facilities
  • Eric Plummer, Director of Public Safety, University Police Chief