The draft plan outlines our assumptions and provides a related concept map to share our best estimates of how we would use CU Boulder South to meet CU Boulder’s future needs while simultaneously working to accommodate the community’s desires.

CU Boulder has been proud to be integral to the fabric of the Boulder community since its founding; in fact, the university’s founding was made possible through the commitment and efforts of Boulder citizens and leaders. Among university towns across the country, the City of Boulder and CU Boulder are recognized as unique in our joint efforts to foster positive relations and for our many collaborations on matters of importance to the community. Continuing this relationship of reciprocal benefit is certainly part of our vision for CU Boulder South.

For CU Boulder to fulfill its mission to serve the state and educate current and new generations of students, it must maintain careful stewardship of this and all its properties. There are real and tangible future needs that CU Boulder South can meet for the university.

CU Boulder South is an important future land resource that will help the university meet its long-term needs and its academic mission. The sites designated for development at CU Boulder South will take many years to complete.  However, knowing that the land is available for certain uses would allow better planning for further development of our Main Campus, East Campus, and Williams Village. With the ability to relocate certain land uses - such as recreation and athletic fields - to CU Boulder South we can develop more academic buildings and student housing in our core campus areas first, taking advantage of existing transportation and infrastructure. 

CU Boulder South can also meet some needs identified by the community. The City of Boulder and our neighbors have immediate needs for flood mitigation, and the city has proposed using part of the CU Boulder South property to address them. To most easily accommodate the city’s proposal, the property should be annexed so the city can implement its flood mitigation plan and manage its construction under its jurisdiction.

We also know that availability and affordability of housing is a top priority for both the community at large and the CU Boulder community. Many of our faculty, staff and graduate students cannot afford to live in Boulder, and miss out on the opportunity to be more deeply connected with both the university community and the community at large. We hope to work closely with the city to explore options for housing development that may be mutually beneficial.

We know the community greatly values access to trails, open space and recreational opportunities that has been available under CU Boulder’s 20-year history of allowing unrestricted access to the property. We believe we can balance those interests with the university’s needs and responsibilities, and believe this balance is reflected in these initial concepts.

  • CU Boulder will actively engage the community on its plans for development.
  • All structures and buildings will be located outside of the 100-year floodplain.
  • Public access will be maintained consistent with other areas of the university.
  • CU Boulder South will include robust trail systems, including a formal trail connecting U.S. 36 and the South Boulder Creek Trail.
  • Buildings will be developed at pedestrian scale for a walkable community and will provide access to trails, parks and open space.
  • Land and buildings will be developed using advanced sustainability and resiliency concepts.
  • Protection of natural habitat will be incorporated into the development.
  • Site will be designed to ensure water quality, storm water management, and protection of groundwater resources.
  • Buildings and land uses will reflect the style of the university and be sensitive to the character of surrounding neighborhoods.

Consistent with other CU Boulder property designations, the concept plan assumes a PUBLIC (P) land use designation. The university continues to commit to maintain a significant portion of the property for flood mitigation and open space.

Flood Storage (81 acres):

  • Flood detention area provided will be consistent with the city’s preferred Option D plan.
  • Athletic and recreation fields will be incorporated into flood storage areas.
  • Limited structural build zones will be established adjacent to the berm. Limited structural build areas could include such uses as community gardens, recreation fields, tree nurseries, and solar gardens.

Habitat Preservation and Natural Areas (66 acres):

  • Preservation of federally recognized regulatory wetlands.
  • Conservation of other natural areas with potential dedications of land to city Open Space.

Residential Workforce Housing, Graduate and Non-Freshman Student Housing (68.4 acres):

  • Apartment Development Concepts
    • 750 units in three-story-tall buildings, each with a 55-foot height limit.
    • Assumes 35,000-square-foot building floor plates (840,000 total gross square feet) for purposes of a fit test.
    • Outdoor area would include pocket parks, playgrounds, and landscaped amenities at 1,600 square feet per unit or a total of 27.5 acres (consistent with city requirements), with small amounts located in other outdoor areas.
  • Townhome Development Concepts
    • 375 two-story units.
    • Assumes 1,400 gross square feet per unit for purposes of a fit test.
    • Outdoor areas including pocket parks, playgrounds, and landscaped amenities at 3,000 square feet per unit or total of 25.8 acres (consistent with city requirements), with small amounts located in other outdoor areas.

Academic Village and Mixed-Use Area (40 acres):

  • 1.25-million gross square feet of building space.
  • 8 buildings at approximately 150,000 gross square feet per building, with a height limit under 55 feet for the purposes of a fit test.
  • 3-acre lots (landscaping included for each building).

Multimodal-Oriented Development:

  • Traffic analysis study was conducted by consulting firm Fox, Tuttle, Hernandez to better understand the traffic and access constraints of the property.
    • Primary access will be from Table Mesa Drive and secondary access will be from Tantra Drive.
    • Highway 93 access will be designed for limited and emergency access only.
    • There will be no connector between Highway 93 and U.S. 36.
    • CU Boulder South would generate approximately 5,800 vehicle trips per day, which could be accommodated by the existing roadways in the area.
  • CU Boulder has a lower vehicle trip generation average than typical city neighborhoods. In developing the concept plan that lower trip generation is expected to be maintained.
    • There will be strong use of alternative transit for residents as well as events at recreation and athletic areas.
    • A central transit hub will provide for buses and eventual capacity for 600 structured and 100 surface parking spaces for on-site uses.
    • Narrow roads will help traffic calming through the site.

Public Access and Trails:

  • Public access to the property will be maintained.
  • A public trail will be formally established to connect U.S. 36 (RTD Table Mesa bus stop) to the South Boulder Creek Trail.
  • Continued access to dog-walkers will be consistent with CU rules and regulations.

Athletics and Recreation:

  • This will include the existing tennis facility, plus sites for playfields and low-impact athletic uses that can be shared with the community.
  • Support service buildings will be developed for locker rooms and restrooms.
  • The cross-country track course and Nordic ski access will be maintained.

Draft Concept Plan

Plan Assumptions & Concept Map See Description below outlining the details

The image shows a map version of the CU Boulder South Draft Concept Plan, published May 1, 2017. The CU Boulder South property is 308 acres of land that stretches south from the junction of U.S. 36 and Table Mesa Drive.

  • The northeast portion of the property on the map shows 81 acres of proposed flood storage, which would also include space for recreation fields and detention ponds.

  • Along the west side of the property, 68.4 acres are designated for University workforce and student housing, including 750 apartments and 375 townhomes, as well as passive open areas, trails and parking.

  • The central portion of the property includes 40 acres for a mixed-use Academic Village, including roughly 1.25 million gross square feet of building space. The Academic Village is surrounded by a Limited Structural Build Zone, which could include community gardens, recreation fields, a tree nursery or solar gardens.

  • A transit hub and parking for on-site uses sits at the north-central portion of the site, just off of the main entrance to the site from Table Mesa Drive.

  • The southern and eastern edges of the site include natural open space areas and wetlands where no building would occur.

  • Trails run throughout different areas of the site, including a potential connection to the South Boulder Creek Trail.