The Arizona Board of Regents last week approved a $129 million capital improvement effort to build a new law school in downtown Phoenix for Arizona State University.

The proposed 300,000-square-foot facility for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law would replace the current law school at ASU’s main campus in Tempe.

The project would be supported by an increase in tuition and private donations, according to the university. Tuition is currently $26,267 a year for Arizona residents.

Phoenix officials in 2009 considered asking voters for a general obligation bond issue to finance the law school move, but the proposal did not advance due to the slow economy.

The school’s long-term plan calls for a 50% increase in the law school’s enrollment, which is currently limited to 700. Officials said the Tempe facility, with 165,000 square feet, cannot accommodate more students.

The university’s journalism and nursing schools are also in downtown Phoenix. There are currently 10,000 students enrolled at the downtown Phoenix campuses.

No construction timetable has been set, but the project is expected to take more than two years to complete.

ASU president Michael Crow said approval by the regents is the first step in a long process.

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