by Brice Nixon
The city of Ontario officially welcomed the University of La Verne on Tuesday at a ceremony to begin remodeling the building which will soon house ULV’s College of Law.
The College, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is attempting to become the first American Bar Association [ABA]-approved law school in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire, an action described by ULV President Stephen Morgan as “the most important action in the University’s 108-year history,” according to a press release.
The new location of the College of Law is 320 E. D St. The building is surrounded by City Hall, the police and fire departments and the public library.
Kenneth Held, the dean of the College of Law, said the new location was appropriate because all the things reflected in the law, and central to its understanding, are represented at the location.
“It’s fitting that Ontario and the Inland Empire have made it possible for a legal system reflecting these values to be taught at this particular spot,” he said.
The remodeling is scheduled to be completed and the building opened for classes in January 2001, housing three times that of the current ULV facility, the Hoover Building, according to a press release.
“Today we celebrate a partnership with the city of Ontario,” said Dr. Morgan. He called it a “watershed decision” when the University decided to come to the city of Ontario and move toward ABA approval.
The new 60,000 square foot, two-story building will house eight modern classrooms and the largest law library in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire. It will feature a new modern, fully-equipped courtroom.
Held said the college has officially notified the ABA of its intent to apply for ABA approval in the next academic year.
“We want to be identified as the independent university in the Inland Empire, and we think that the hub of the Inland Empire is the city of Ontario,” said Dr. Morgan. “And we are delighted to have a presence in this city and hope that that presence will continue to grow. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the city of Ontario.”
The College will move into the building in December, Dr. Morgan said, but the grand opening will be in February or March.
Dr. Morgan presented Ontario Mayor Gary Ovitt with a plaque “with appreciation of our partnership with the City of Ontario.”
Others honored for their contributions at the ceremony included Jim Long, the chair of the Board of Trustees at La Verne; Dick Landis, a trustee emeritus; Richard Lewis, a new member of the Board of Trustees who was represented by his son David, along with Ben and Barbara Harris, who have made a big contribution to the construction, which is under the direction of Kurt Rothweiler of KAR Construction.
Ovitt said the move was a sign of progress for both the City of Ontario and the University of La Verne. The new college, which Ovitt said will be a first-class facility, will be home to 200 students. That total is expected to easily double over time.