Published: May 1, 2018

On a sunny Colorado day, workers in fluorescent hard hats zip across a crowded job site, their breath visible in the cold air. As the Flatirons tower in the background, concrete is being poured, arc welder sparks pulse against steel, and a 100-foot crane lifts supplies into position.

Construction of the new University of Colorado Boulder aerospace building is underway.

“It’s an exciting time. Every time I go by the job site, something new is taking shape,” said Professor Brian Argrow, chair of Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

In addition to providing world-class learning spaces, the new 173,000-square-foot building is designed to facilitate greater collaboration between students and faculty in the department’s six main research clusters. Features will include an indoor flight environment for testing unmanned aerial systems, a high bay space and a unique roof design to accommodate research and provide the line of sight necessary for activities like satellite tracking.

The building is the result of booming growth in the department—total enrollment topped 1,100 for the first time this year.

“Engineering is the future, and this is a defining moment for CU Boulder and the entire state of Colorado,” said Bobby Braun, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. “We are already recognized as a national leader in aerospace, and this state-of-the-art facility will take us to the next level.”

A formal groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held in late October 2017, with hundreds of students, researchers and industry representatives gathered at the East Campus construction site. The new building will be located along Discovery Drive between the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex (SEEC) and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics’ (LASP) Space Science Building.

The building is slated for completion by July 2019, in time for the department to move into its new home for the fall 2019 semester.