CU-Boulder’s new and renovated residence halls showcase new academic program, sustainability

The University of Colorado Boulder’s newest residence hall, Kittredge Central, is welcoming students this week for the first time, 53 of whom are engineering students and will be immersed in Spanish through the building’s new Residential Academic Program, or RAP.

Also, the nearby Kittredge West residence hall is reopening this week after being unoccupied last school year while renovations were underway. Both buildings comprise a number of “green” features to improve water and energy efficiency and to reduce the campus’s carbon footprint.

The RAP, “Global Engineering,” is designed for students with interest in worldwide engineering systems, foreign languages, international collaborative design and international development.

“We were pleased to attract a number of incoming first-year students who had not found this type of opportunity anywhere else in the country,” said Diane Sieber, faculty adviser of the Global Engineering RAP and associate dean for education in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “While there are successful residence halls for engineers at other universities, the Global Engineering RAP -- offering cultural and linguistic immersive learning and a focus on global development -- is the first program of its kind.”

CU-Boulder now has 14 RAPs including the Leadership RAP, which also is taking residence in the new Kittredge Central, and the Health Professions RAP, housed in Kittredge West. The RAP programs are designed to introduce students to faculty and to allow them to take selected courses and participate in educational and social events with students who have shared interests -- all within their residence hall.

Students in the new RAP will take an interactive seminar titled “The Meaning of IT,” or “Informática Global,” which will take place both in Spanish and English, and will be taught by Sieber.

The course examines personal and professional behaviors, interactions and information gathering in the digital age with regard to devices, social networks, online games, virtual worlds and global collaborative work. Issues to be explored include digital rights management, privacy, government regulation of information technology and the legal and personal implications of being public on the Web.

Also offered through the new RAP are “Intro to Engineering Projects -- Global Development” and “Spanish Conversation” courses.

“The curriculum prepares students to study or work abroad and to volunteer for international aid projects,” said Sieber. “It also prepares them for sophisticated leveraging of emerging international communication and collaboration tools such as teleconferencing and document- and image-sharing via social network platforms.”

Sieber, who says that large engineering consulting firms currently earn more than 50 percent of their income from international projects, also plans to invite residents each week to prepare meals together using recipes from Spanish-speaking countries. The students also will take a close look at the sustainable design of their residence hall, said Sieber.

Built to a high Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard, the new Kittredge Central and the renovated Kittredge West buildings are on track to receive LEED Gold ratings.

Made up of a number of sustainability features that are integrated into all construction on the CU-Boulder campus, the buildings use 33 to 45 percent less energy than other buildings of similar size and function. Features include low-flow plumbing, efficient lighting, efficient heating and cooling systems, “green” insulation and windows, and power outlets in the student rooms that cut off electricity when plugged-in devices are not in use.

More than 25 percent of construction materials contain recycled content; more than 30 percent of the building materials were sourced or manufactured within a 500-mile radius; and more than 95 percent of all of the construction waste from the buildings was diverted from landfills.

Free filtered water bottle filling stations throughout the common areas of the buildings show how many plastic containers may have been diverted from landfills as users stock their own re-useable containers. 

The $34.9 million Kittredge Central includes 100,000 square feet, 263 beds, a 24-hour staffed desk, several RAP classrooms and offices, tutoring spaces, a UPS store, a retail cafe, a “multipurpose” room with a 250-seat capacity and state-of-the-art technology.

The $21.7 million renovated Kittredge West includes 74,296 square feet, 274 beds, easy access to Kittredge Central amenities, study lounges, student lounges, community rooms and break rooms.

The total cost of the two residence halls will be financed through available cash and bonds that will be repaid through room and board rates. 

For more information about CU-Boulder’s RAPS visit For more information about CU-Boulder’s residence halls visit For more information about CU-Boulder’s resource conservation and sustainability visit

Kambiz Khalili, 303-492-6494
John Fox, 303-492-7260
Diane Sieber, 303-492-3646
Elizabeth Lock, 303-492-3117