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 Tuesday, October 14, 2008 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Building Our Future at CU-Boulder
Paul M. Leef, AIA, LEED™AP

The University of Colorado at Boulder is about to undertake a major construction initiative that in some ways will rival the major campus expansions of the 1950s and 1960s. This initiative will result in some exciting new facilities, important building renovations and needed infrastructure. Although two of our projects may be affected by the current freeze on state funded construction, the majority have alternative sources of funds and are moving forward. However, projects do not happen overnight or without challenges, so I wanted to take this opportunity to begin a series of communications that I hope will inform and educate our campus community about the upcoming work.

This fall, articles such as this one will begin to appear in various campus media. Our office is also preparing a presentation for a variety of campus organizations, to ensure that community members are informed and have a chance to ask questions. Additionally, a website will be used to provide information on locations of construction and possible impacts. In the meantime, I would like to provide a brief outline of approaching work.

In fact, as you have probably noticed from the unmistakably large crane at the center of campus, construction is already well underway. The Visual Arts Center is rising out of the ground next to ATLAS, and construction will continue until the targeted completion date in late 2009. Over at the sundial plaza entrance of Norlin Library, an extension and renovation for a new Information Commons is also in progress and completion is currently expected to occur by the summer of 2009.

Coming to campus in the spring and summer of 2009 will be the first of several new projects breaking ground. Next spring, excavation in the parking lot just south of Hallett Hall will signal the start of construction for the new Center for Community. This project will consolidate many student services into one location, providing a convenient “one stop shop” for students. These functions are currently located in academic areas and residential halls, so moving them into the new building will free up needed academic office space and recapture residential hall space for increases student housing bed count. Although the construction will temporarily displace existing parking permit holders in that area, the good news is that a new, below-grade parking structure will add to overall parking capacity for long term campus benefit as part of this project. To preserve the scarce spots on campus for faculty and staff, contractor parking will be provided off campus, but extensive truck traffic should be expected, especially during excavation of the site.

In partnership with the City of Boulder, the university received federal funds to create a separated grade crossing adjacent to Fiske Planetarium. Regent Drive will be rebuilt with a gentle incline to go up and over the troublesome intersection. This will greatly improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, but it requires that Regent Drive be closed to through traffic from approximately May 15, 2009 to approximately Aug. 1, 2009. The closure will apply from the entrance to the Leeds School of Business parking lot entrance to Kittredge Loop. Access to each will be maintained. If you ride the Stampede or 209 buses, RTD is currently working on alternative routes through campus and the detour will be planned so as to minimize disruption.

Summer 2009 may also see a variety of other projects get underway, such as a new heating and cooling plant, to be located between the Coors Events Center and the Environmental Health and Safety Center. In order to serve the campus, most of the new, large, steam and chilled water distribution lines will be routed through existing roadways or walkways, so piping excavation is likely to cause some logistical challenges. However, we have already begun seeking input from campus constituents at regularly scheduled planning meetings in our office.

The start of renovations in Ekeley Middle Wing and Ketchum Hall may also be possible in 2009, but specific construction plans are presently on hold pending the state freeze. A $27M addition to JILA is also in design and may break ground in 2009 or 2010, contingent upon federal funding. Other project starts may include a new basketball and volleyball practice facility adjacent to the Coors Event Center an addition to Smith Hall in Kittredge to add 130 new beds, and finally, the new Systems Biotechnology Building on the east campus.

During this upcoming phase of work, the goal of Facilities Management will be to make the campus construction and normal campus traffic co-exist with as little conflict and frustration as possible. When these projects are completed in approximately three years, the campus will be well on its way to achieving goals envisioned in the strategic plan.

If you would like to receive more information or arrange for an informational presentation to your campus organization, please email communication team managers Megan Rose or Noel Cummings; you may also email assistant director of construction, Bill Ward or me.

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