Published: Aug. 11, 2010

Anchored by a 900-seat street-market style dining hall offering freshly prepared food in nine specialty dining stations, including sushi, Italian, Brazilian and Persian dishes, the nearly completed Center for Community at the University of Colorado at Boulder is set to open for students this fall.

The center also will be home base for 12 student support offices, including Career Services, Center for Multicultural Affairs, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of International Education and the Office of Victim Assistance. The dining facility will serve nearly 4,000 meals per day and close to a million per year.

The dining hall will be open when students start returning to CU residence halls on Aug 17. The student services offices will be open by the end of October.

"While the Center for Community will be used by thousands of students every week for vital student services, it also is designed as a place where they can come together to eat and socialize in a comfortable setting that highlights a wealth of cultures," said Julie Wong, vice chancellor for student affairs.

Preparing and serving thousands of meals under one roof, while also providing a one-stop shop for student services, were driving factors in the building's design, according to Philip Simpson, assistant director of CU-Boulder's Facilities Planning office.

"By consolidating many food services at one site, instead of operating and maintaining multiple facilities, the campus is able to control production costs and provide more venues designed to support the needs of a diverse campus population," Simpson said.

This consolidation of food preparation and service will allow CU to shut down at least two other campus dining facilities and reduce production needs at others. The consolidation also makes it easier for students to conduct their business by bringing student services offices from throughout campus to one location, according to Simpson.

The $84.4 million facility, which includes 183,000 gross square feet of program space, and an additional 140,000 gross square feet of parking space, is being financed through bonds and will be repaid through auxiliary revenue. Parking fees, housing and dining revenue, as well as private fundraising will pay for the building.

No tax dollars or tuition were used for Center for Community construction and there was no net increase in room and board rates because the student services offices in residence halls will be converted back to housing for students.

Many of today's college students weigh their lifestyle desires in parallel with their academic goals, and how potential students view campus amenities is a very important element to the success of any campus, according to Amy Beckstrom, director of Dining Services.

"This dining center, which builds community by bringing a new cultural dining experience to the CU-Boulder campus, offers our busy students a single location where they can utilize the resources of several student affairs support services," Beckstrom said.

One of the major upgrades for students is the new Career Services office. Currently located in Willard Hall, the interview and counseling rooms were useable but outdated and cramped, according to Lisa Severy, director of the Career Services office at CU-Boulder.

"We graduate a class of students every year who excel academically and are leaders in a diverse range of interests," Severy said. "We currently showcase that pool of talent that will impact our state, country and the world, in the basement of an older building. This new facility will allow us to showcase our students and graduates in a space that reflects their accomplishments and potential, and that will be more pleasing to the professional needs of recruiters as well."

The Center for Community was designed and is being built to be energy and water efficient with a minimum carbon footprint. Compared with similar-sized buildings, the Center for Community will be 20 to 25 percent more energy and water efficient. It also was built with the goal of receiving at least a LEED Gold Certification, which it is on track to achieve.


Center for Community

University of Colorado at Boulder

-- The $84.4 million Center for Community building will be entirely financed through bonds that will be repaid from campus parking fees, housing and dining revenue and private fundraising. (56.2 percent from Housing and Dining Services auxiliary revenue, 21.8 percent from private gifts and bequests to the Student Affairs division, 21.6 percent from Parking and Transportation Services auxiliary revenue, and 0.4 percent from central utilities auxiliary revenue).

-- The dining center will serve about 1 million meals per year, or nearly 4,000 meals each day. In 2009, 2.2 million meals were served campuswide.

-- When student services offices are moved to the Center for Community building, 230 new beds will be created in Willard Hall and 136 new beds will be added in Hallet Hall. Revenue from the new beds will be used to help pay for the building over the next 25 years.

-- The finished building will consist of 183,000 gross square feet of program space and an additional 140,000 gross square feet of parking space.

-- The 900-seat dining facility includes nine specialty dining stations, a "grab-n-go" cafe, a retail bakery and a late-night food hub open until 2 a.m.

-- Compared with similar-sized buildings, the Center for Community will be 20 to 25 percent more energy and water efficient.

-- Many of the building's finishes were chosen for their long life span, resulting in low life cycle costs.

-- More than 50 percent of the materials supplied for the construction came from local sources.

-- A large amount of recycled material was used in the building's construction, including steel, fly-ash, plastic and glass.

-- The building is on track to receive at least LEED Gold Certification.

-- The architects for the project were the Centerbrook Architects of Connecticut and the Davis Partnership Architects of Denver.

The Center for Community -- Floor by Floor


A one-level, 375-space underground parking garage will be used primarily by faculty, staff and students with parking permits, but also will be open for event parking after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

First Floor

The BuffOne Card office, Dining Services offices, a retail bakery counter and a late-night Italian-style food hub are located on the first floor. The first level also will have 50 additional parking spaces.

Second Floor

The second floor includes nine specialty dining stations – Italian, Brazilian, garden fresh produce, Latin/Mexican, sushi, Asian, chef's choice, Persian and dessert – and a grab-n-go restaurant. Disability Services also is located on the second floor.

Third Floor

Career Services, International Education, Multicultural Affairs, the J.D. Abrams Student Cultural Center Lounge and the Housing and Dining Services offices are located on the third floor.

Fourth Floor

The offices of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students, Counseling and Psychological Services, Victim Assistance, Veterans Affairs, Ombuds, Student Academic Affairs, GLBT Resource Center, Parent Relations, University of Colorado Foundation and the Office of Pre-Collegiate Outreach are located on the fourth floor.