Published: Oct. 19, 2017
Rendering of new aerospace engineering building on East Campus

CU Boulder invites students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community to a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26, to kick off construction of a new 144,000-square-foot aerospace engineering sciences building on East Campus that is slated to open in the summer of 2019.

The celebration will set the stage for a new era of aerospace innovation on campus, placing CU’s Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences in close proximity to the university’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). These organizations have a rich history as national leaders in aerospace education and research.

The state of Colorado is a national hub for the aerospace industry, ranking first in the United States in aerospace employment concentration. The new facility will position CU Boulder at the center of that innovation ecosystem and its growth, deepening ties between campus and industry leaders, said College of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Bobby Braun.

“This new facility will be transformational for the college and CU Boulder, and we couldn’t be more excited to share this day with alumni, faculty, students and industry partners who will benefit from the building and continue to drive our state’s innovation in aerospace to new heights,” Braun said.

The public groundbreaking ceremony will take place in front of the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community (SEEC) building, and attendees will have the opportunity to take virtual reality tours of the new building. The event will include comments from Braun, CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano, and other campus and regional partners, including Jay Lindell, aerospace and defense industry champion at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The ceremony will be immediately followed by a reception. Advance registration is requested.

The University of Colorado Board of Regents in June approved $82.5 million in spending authority for construction of the building. The anticipated construction timeline means aerospace engineering students in this year’s freshman and sophomore classes will complete their upper-division course and lab experiences in the new building when it opens in 2019.

The new building will be located along Discovery Drive between SEEC and the LASP Space Sciences Building. Features will include an indoor flight environment for testing unmanned aerial systems, as well as a unique roof design that accommodates faculty research and provides the lines of sight necessary for activities like satellite tracking.

The building will group together aerospace engineering’s six main research clusters in a way that facilitates greater collaboration between students and faculty. It will also provide world-class learning spaces, including one modeled after the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, an award-winning hands-on learning environment in the Engineering Center that has proven crucial to student success.

The facility’s proximity to LASP facilities and others, meanwhile, will help create a synergistic hub of space-related programming on East Campus.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science continues to work with prospective philanthropists and industry partners who are interested in sustaining the world-class people and programs to be housed in the new aerospace building. Such support is critical to the creation of a top aerospace engineering program that drives innovation and produces the next generation of space and aeronautics leaders.

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If you go

Who: Open to the public
What: Groundbreaking ceremony for new aerospace engineering building
When: Thursday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m.
Where: Sustainability, Energy and Environment Community (SEEC)
RSVP: Requested

Parking is extremely limited, so we strongly encourage taking the Discovery Express or Stampede bus (free with EcoPass) or carpooling to the ceremony.

    ​ Fast facts

    • The new East Campus building will house the Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences program
    • Innovative features: Indoor flight environment, collaborative research spaces, roof design that allows for satellite tracking and other research
    • Construction starts: October 2017
    • Anticipated completion: Summer 2019
    • Budget: $82.5 million
    • Square feet: 144,000
    • Architects: HCM Inc. and Ratio Architects
    • General contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
    • Construction updates:
    • To become a partner: