Campus News / Fall 2018

A new framework plan imagines the DU campus as ‘a great college town in the heart of the city’

Longer term, the campus framework plan envisions the DU campus and neighborhood as a “vibrant college town in the heart of the city,” with more retail and restaurant options, affordable housing, and even a hotel on the north side of campus. Rendering courtesy of DU architect’s office

Picture it.

You’re an alum returning to DU for the big homecoming hockey game. But instead of staying in Cherry Creek or along Colorado Boulevard, you’re in a hotel on campus, just steps from Magness Arena. When dinnertime rolls around, you head not to the nearest chain steakhouse, but to a redesigned student center where you can mingle with students and faculty while eating Mongolian barbecue from one of a dozen different food vendors.

Or you’re a DU senior who’s getting serious about your job search. So you stroll across campus — past new state-of-the-art buildings for science and math — to a full-service career center where you get resumé advice from counselors before a networking session with alumni and local employers. Later in the evening, you join a group of students engaged in philosophical discussion around a glowing firepit.

Or you’re a Denver resident on his way to the Newman Center for an evening performance. Along the way you hit up the DU bookstore — now located just off University Boulevard, with easy access from the sidewalk — for a few new titles to stack on the bedside table. After the show you stop by the student-run Beans coffeeshop — its cozy patio aglow with strings of lights — for a latte or a glass of wine.

All of these scenarios are part of the vision for a future DU that is more welcoming, more intentional and more alive after 5. Serving as a roadmap for this evolution is the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan — a long-term, flexible proposal that explores the ways DU can evolve over the years and decades ahead — which was unveiled in spring 2018.

Phase one includes the Community Commons, built on the footprint of the Driscoll Student Center, a residence hall specifically for first-year students, and the Pioneer Career Achievement Center, which will serve as a centralized hub for student career development, employer engagement and alumni activities. Preparations for construction kicked off this summer, and all three buildings are scheduled to open their doors in 2020. A new permanent exhibit in the Mary Reed atrium hallway, featuring renderings of the three buildings, showcases how the Denver Advantage connects DU’s past with its future.

“The needs of our campus and neighboring communities continue to evolve,” says Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. “We thought long and hard about what it means to plan for the future while keeping our core University values at the forefront. Education, the student experience and financial access remain our top priorities, and to fulfill that promise, we’re creating spaces where people can establish a sense of belonging and build community.”

Longer term, the campus framework plan envisions the DU campus and neighborhood as a “vibrant college town in the heart of the city,” with more retail and restaurant options, affordable housing, and even a hotel on the north side of campus.

To shape the plan, the University hired architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross (ASG), known for similar campus transformations at Emory University, George Washington University, Colby College and many other schools.

“When you think about what exists in Denver, it has some of the greatest, coolest, funkiest neighborhoods in the world,” says ASG principal Adam Gross. “Students are leaving the campus to go to those other cool, hip neighborhoods, so the goal was to create that kind of neighborhood right in the DU district.”

 

 

One Comment

  1. For an alternative perspective on the campus framework plan that’s based in urban studies scholarship, go here: https://www.planetizen.com/blogs/99979-planning-placemaking-and-public-good

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