Sneak a peek: Academic office building design shared

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A new, five-story building with 100 faculty and staff offices is quickly taking shape.

Gary Reynolds, executive director, Facilities Services, recently shared architectural renderings of the next UCCS construction project as well as plans for its construction.

“This is a critical project for a growing campus and will provide needed academic offices in 2014 and beyond,” said Brian Burnett, senior executive vice chancellor, Administration and Finance.

Tentatively named Academic Office Building, the $16 million, 44,000-square-foot building – roughly the size of Main Hall – will house several departments of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, as well as the School of Public Affairs on four floors. A fifth floor will be constructed as a shell, making it a site for future expansion. Construction will begin in June with demolition of the ranch-style former private home adjacent to Columbine and continue through August 2014.

“This building will not have classrooms,” Reynolds said. “It is intended to alleviate office crowding while providing easy access to Columbine’s classrooms and parking.”

Built into a hillside, the building will have an entrance from parking lot 6 as well as a main entrance from Regent Circle. The main entrance will feature an atrium with views to the west that Reynolds believes will provide visitors with a positive initial UCCS experience. Approximately 100 offices and several conference rooms are planned as is extensive landscaping and a direct path to Columbine Hall classrooms.

The building will be designed to meet or exceed energy efficiency specified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold-level standards. A connection to Colorado Springs bike trails is also included in the design.

The new building will be home to College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Departments of History, Sociology, Women’s and Ethnic Studies, and Economics as well as the Matrix Center for Social Inclusion and the School of Public Affairs. Faculty and staff members from those entities are currently housed in Columbine Hall, Dwire Hall and the University Office Park.

Reynolds said challenges for the construction include the closing of parking lot 6 while construction occurs and coordinating it with the widening of Austin Bluffs Parkway. Facilities Services will also use a new, design-build process. Instead of hiring an architect and contractor independently, the new process selects a single entity responsible for all aspects of building design and construction. Nunn Construction, Colorado Springs, was selected for the project. Nunn is using Slater Paull as the project architect.

“Our hope is that this new process will save time and money,” Reynolds said. “If successful, what’s new now will become the standard for the future.”

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