Update: Academic Building to be first in new CU Denver neighborhood on Auraria Campus


Capital construction for a new academic building on the Auraria Campus to be occupied solely by the University of Colorado Denver faculty, staff and students was approved by the Board of Regents at its April 19 meeting.

Substantial student growth at the Auraria Campus has made expansion imperative, explained CU Denver Provost Roderick Nairn.

“This campus was constructed for use of 15,000 students; on any given day there are 45,000 students on campus,” he told the board. “There is a tremendous shortage of space.”

The Academic Building and Backfill Renovation project includes a new 128,000-square-foot building and renovations to other buildings that will be vacated by occupants of the new building. The building will be the first built within the recently designated University of Colorado Denver neighborhood at the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) and will include three primary program components:

  • Large instructional lecture halls
  • Academic department office space
  • Student services/student affairs functions

“This will be a significant building for us and will anchor CU in a very prominent space on Speer Boulevard,” Nairn said. The building will be built at Speer Boulevard and Larimer Street across from North Classroom and will be approximately the same height. “The building . . . is critical for us to move forward. It will activate that corner and create a lot of connectivity to downtown.”

The project, approved with a 9-0 vote, is expected to cost about $44.7 million: $37.1 million for new construction and $7.6 million for backfill renovation.

The Academic Building is expected to be completed by August 2014 with backfill renovation work commencing upon occupancy of the new building. Completion of the backfill work is scheduled to occur in April 2015.

The board also approved expansion of the chilled water capacity at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus Central Utility Plant (CUP) and the replacement or updating of controls within the facility. The University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado have significant expansion projects under way that collectively represent 1 million gross square feet and significant cooling needs: the current facility is 82,722 gross square feet. Total project cost is estimated at $3.4 million.

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