CU Denver’s new building to open fall 2014
Building campus community through academic building 1
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 03:02
After over a year of planning, CU Denver broke ground for Academic Building 1 and set the official opening date for Fall 2014.
Raul Cardenas, Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and Sam Kim, Director of New Student Orientation, have a collective vision for the building—increasing UCD’s sense of campus community.
“As we saw from the announcement of the mascot, our campus is dying for community,” Cardenas said. “That mascot, as silly as people thought it might have been, [shows] we’re [going] in the right direction. This building will further that.”
Academic Building 1’s unique asset for UCD students is going to be the Lynx Center. According to Kim, it’s going to act as a hub of information for students. Rather than bouncing between offices that may be located in completely separate buildings, students will be able to stop by one office and have their questions answered.
“We want it to be a link to the whole campus,” Cardenas said. “When a student has a ton of questions and they just don’t know where to go, that’s where they can go.”
UCD senior and engineering major Patrick DePrisco feels that the Tivoli Student Union already provides the same service as the Lynx Center. “If I have questions about where to go, I just go to the information desk,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit of legwork going to all of the buildings, but it gets the job done.”
As future director of the Lynx center, Kim said he sees it as a space to bridge the gap between the other offices on campus such as financial aid and academic advising.
“We want to eliminate that confusion. We want to eliminate that frustration for the student,” Kim said. “Students pay a lot of money, and good money, to come to CU Denver and we acknowledge that.”
According to the AB1 Committee, which oversees the project’s development, the 65 million dollar endeavor will not cause a rise in tuition or student fees.
“It’s really been thoughtful. Our university leadership has been understanding to the need that we have here,” Cardenas said. “Trying to centralize this has been a long time coming.”
The funds going toward the new structure come from a combination of dollars that have been set aside in UCD-specific reserves, he said, and private donations.
Currently, Academic Building 1 is a placeholder name for the structure. The AB1 committee is still looking for a donor to officially name the building after. According to the committee, donors are expected to pledge between 10–15 million dollars for the naming rights.
AMD Architecture, a standing collaborator of the university, did the architectural planning and design. The firm has completed some work previously at the Anschutz Medical Campus and more recently designed the new science building at Auraria.
Formerly a parking lot located directly west of North Classroom, Academic Building 1 broke ground on Jan. 31, shutting down the parking lot.
UCD psychology major Cassandra Lopez had one major question for the development and placement of Academic Building 1. “Parking on campus is already a pain. What’ll happen when they put a big new building on that lot?” she said.
The existing parking allotment will be reduced to one-third of its original size, and metered parking will run along Larimer and 12th street, bordering the building, according to the AB1 committee.
“Parking is a struggle that all urban campuses face, and we are sensitive to that.” Cardenas said.
Jeff Stamper, the Assistant Vice President of Operations and Services at AHEC, said there will be some replacement for student parking at Auraria before the building is completed.
“It’s an overall tri-institutional initiative, but it won’t be a dollar for dollar thing,” he said. “As a campus, we’ll find a way to compensate for the space that’s best for the whole campus.”
Currently, AHEC is in the planning phase for a new parking garage at 5th and Walnut Street, intended to be completed July 2014, just before the grand opening of Academic Building 1. Further details on the size and cost of the garage will be available after more planning, and sight surveys have been performed, Stamper said.
The chancellor’s office and AB1 Committee have decided upon the breakdown and segmentation of the five-story AB1 structure. The student service offices that are going to be incorporated include the UCD registrar, financial aid, bursar, and admissions offices. Other auxiliary services will be added to the space as well.
“The second floor will consist of a computer lab, working lab, and printing lab,” Cardenas said. “That one is more in conceptualization. We’re not sure if we need to put all computers in there, or maybe we’ll have plug-in jacks.”
The Educational Opportunity Program, TRiO program, Learning Resource Center, and Disability Resource Services will also be included on the second floor. The first floor will be home to a café, two lecture halls, and the Lynx Center.
This center is not just an information hub for new students; Kim wants to appeal to the entire student body. “[The Lynx Center] would be for all CU Denver students,” he said. “We’re not just talking about first year freshmen; we’re talking about the 11,000 students here.”
Cardenas and Kim explicitly said that the center is not meant to take over or compete with the student union concept.
“I see pros and cons to having a place [like the Tivoli] where students from all three institutions come together,” Kim said. “We don’t want to lose sight of the Tivoli. Our colleagues are still there. But when you’re a CU Denver student looking for CU Denver academic advice or financial aid information, we can easily send you to just one place.”
There is still room for conceptualization and planning for the contents of Academic Building 1 and the Lynx Center. Cardenas and Kim encourage student engagement with the development of this project. Students can bring their ideas directly to Kim in the New Student Orientation Office, suite 1300 in the CU building.