Published: Nov. 7, 2023

The University of Colorado Board of Regents today approved a pair of action items aimed at advancing objectives of the Campus Master Plan related to increasing housing options for students, faculty and staff.

The first, a new on-campus apartment-style building in Boulder at 19th and Athens streets (two blocks east of Boulder High) currently dubbed Residence One, is slated to break ground early next year and create 332 beds targeted primarily toward non-first-year undergraduate students. 

The regents also approved the strategic acquisition of 1164 W. Dillon Road property in Louisville, adjacent to the McCaslin RTD Park and Ride, a 14-minute bus ride from campus. Pending required state approvals through the Capital Development Committee, CU Boulder is expected to close on the property in the first quarter of 2024 and will begin discussions with Louisville officials and community members about redevelopment opportunities at the site. 

These action items are not aimed at increasing enrollment at CU Boulder but rather creating more on-campus and transit-oriented housing options, reducing pressure on the local housing market, vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.

“We continue to be responsive to the voices of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the broader community, as we take a holistic approach to addressing needs around housing,” CU Boulder Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke said. “We are appreciative of the regents for sharing in this approach and their willingness to invest in diverse strategies that support student success, as well as the retention and success of our faculty and staff.”

Both items were approved as part of the consent agenda.

Residence One

The plan: Residence One will include 332 beds via a variety of apartment types, including studios and one-, two-, four- and five-bedroom units. The building will also include a multipurpose room, as well as amenities such as a grab-and-go food service, coffee shop and UPS store—all of which will be open to the community. 

Why it matters: CU Boulder’s 2021 Campus Master Plan recognizes Boulder’s tight housing market and places a major emphasis on creating more on-campus housing options, particularly for non-first-year undergraduate and graduate students. 

  • The master plan envisions 4,400 to 6,000 new on-campus beds over the next 15 to 30 years.
  • Residence One is the first step in a holistic approach to on-campus housing that also includes rejuvenation of existing housing stock. Initially, Residence One will ensure on-campus housing inventory does not decrease while aging Main Campus residence halls like Farrand, Libby and Cheyenne Arapaho are renovated. 

University values

Diversity, equity and inclusion: Residence One advances the university’s plan to provide more diverse housing options at varying price points to accommodate the varying needs of students. This includes increasing the inventory of on-campus housing that is ADA accessible.

  • Sustainability: The building will achieve at least LEED Gold building standards. No natural gas will be piped to the building. Food service facilities and the chilled-water cooling system will be all-electric from day one, and the low-temperature hot water heating sets the building up to convert to all-electric as the rest of Main Campus is transitioned in support of CU Boulder’s carbon neutrality goal. Providing more on-campus housing options also reduces vehicle miles traveled and associated carbon emissions.
  • Health and wellbeing: Creating additional on-campus living communities helps increase student success by placing more students closer to on-campus support and services.

What they’re saying: “We know through our Housing Master Plan survey and other outreach that our non-first-year and graduate students desire a variety of housing options, including kitchens and private bedrooms and bathrooms,” said Chris Ewing, vice chancellor for infrastructure and sustainability. “Residence One illustrates the ways in which we aim to address this feedback, through a mix of unit types and by integrating community spaces into the design.”

Next steps

  • Construction is slated to begin in March 2024, with occupancy planned for August 2026.
  • A second new housing building in the same area, Residence Two, is slated to go to the regents for approval in 2024, with an anticipated opening of August 2027. It will be targeted primarily toward graduate students.

1164 W. Dillion Rd.

The plan: CU Boulder is under contract, pending required state approvals through the Capital Development Committee, to purchase the 8.85-acre property at the junction of U.S. 36 and McCaslin Boulevard, currently the site of a Regal Cinebarre movie theater. 

Why it matters: 1164 W. Dillon is a strategic acquisition for future university use that presents an excellent opportunity for housing and transit-oriented, mixed-use redevelopment that can help reactivate the McCaslin corridor.

Shared values

  • Community vitality: CU Boulder anticipates this property becoming a model for transit-oriented development that complements Louisville planning efforts. The university will begin discussions with City of Louisville leaders and the community to inform the future of the site.​​
  • Housing equity: In addition to housing attainable to faculty, staff and possibly graduate students, the campus hopes to establish dedicated housing units that are affordable and intends to collaborate with local and regional organizations that specialize in this housing type. 
  • Sustainability: The location at McCaslin and 36 make 1164 W. Dillon an excellent spot for walkable, transit-oriented development that reduces vehicle miles traveled and carbon emissions. All CU Boulder faculty, staff and students receive RTD EcoPasses.

Next steps

  • Anticipated closing date: First quarter of 2024.
  • Engagement with City of Louisville leaders and community members about the future of the site.

Zooming out: CU Boulder contributed $4.3 billion in economic impact to the state during the 2023 fiscal year and is the largest economic contributor in Boulder County, employing 11,626 people (not including students) and paying out $1.1 billion in salaries and benefits. More than 600 CU Boulder faculty and staff and roughly 200 students call Louisville home. The 1164 W. Dillon purchase is not aimed at increasing enrollment at CU Boulder but rather investing in the communities where our people currently live and providing more transit-oriented housing options, reducing pressure on the local housing market, vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. The location could also provide a closer living option for members of the CU Boulder community who currently commute from farther away. 

Other sites in CU Boulder’s holistic approach to housing include:

  • Residence One (mentioned above).
  • Residence Two, an on-campus site located adjacent to current graduate and family housing, slated to follow Residence One by one year, targeted toward graduate students.
  • CU Boulder South is slated to provide housing for faculty, staff and non-freshman students.