Published: May 9, 2023

Gov. Jared Polis signed the long bill last week, approving the third and final phase of state funding for the Hellems Arts & Sciences building renovation and clearing the way for construction to begin this summer. When students and faculty return to campus for the fall semester, work will be underway and the building will be closed until its scheduled reopening for the spring semester of 2026.

Fencing will be installed around the building once the Colorado Shakespeare Festival concludes in August. A pedestrian tunnel will be constructed on the west side of Hellems, and the bike maintenance station will relocate to the north side of the Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE) building. Construction updates will be posted on the Facilities Management Cone Zone website

Hellems building

The $105.2 million Hellems renovation, which will address both modernization and deferred maintenance, is receiving 40% of its funding from the state of Colorado, with the university covering 60%.

“We are grateful to the Colorado General Assembly, and members of the Capital Development Committee in particular, for contributing to the rejuvenation of this historic building,” Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Sustainability Chris Ewing said. “Five out of six CU Boulder students take classes in the building during their time here, and this work will ensure it continues to support student success for generations to come.”

Completed in 1921, Hellems Arts & Sciences was the first built in CU Boulder’s signature Tuscan vernacular style created by architect Charles Z. Klauder. The style cemented a design language that would define the look and feel of today’s campus.

Hellems has been a place where generations of students have deepened their knowledge in the humanities. The building is currently home to the departments of English, History, Linguistics and Philosophy, as well as the Anderson Language and Technology Center (ALTEC) and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. 

“It’s obvious that 100 years of heavy use has taken its toll on this historic building,” said Glen Krutz, dean of arts and sciences. “With support from the state and the CU Boulder campus, we’re able to embark on an exciting redesign and restoration of this seminal structure.”

“Further, it is fitting and uplifting to note the investment in what is, physically and psychologically, the hub of humanities instruction on our campus. We routinely herald the importance of a liberal arts education, and this investment reflects our core values,” said Krutz.

Project managers have identified several goals for the renovation, including:

  • Student-focused learning and collaboration spaces
  • A reimagined hub for English, History, Linguistics, Philosophy and ALTEC 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in design, construction and occupancy
  • Sustainability and reduced environmental impact
  • Flexibility for the next 100 years of use
  • Historical preservation

During construction, Hellems will be fenced off but surrounding buildings will remain open, including the CU Museum of Natural History in the neighboring Henderson building. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held when the building reopens.