DENVER, Colorado. November 13, 2020 (School Construction News) — The University of Colorado Denver recently celebrated its official “topping out” for its new City Heights Residence Hall and Learning Commons. The 182,000-square-foot residence hall will add approximately 555 beds and is the first on-campus student housing complex for the university.
The $62.4 million project comprises a seven-story residence hall comprised of two wings connected vertically by internal communal scaled to encourage student interaction between floors. Stantec is providing architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, lighting, and sustainability services on the project. JE Dunn is the general contractor.
The residential tower offers students mountain or downtown views, and the L-shaped configuration of the building’s upper floors flank a sunny courtyard space that will provide a new campus gathering place and connection between the CU Denver campus neighborhood and the Tivoli Student Union. The lower floors include a central campus dining hall on the ground floor, and a 30,000-square-foot student services center called the Learning Commons, designed to enhance faculty development and support students outside the classroom.
The Learning Commons will centralize student academic support and tutoring services into a collaborative facility that will serve residents and non-residents with the aim of making academic support approachable and convenient. The Learning Commons will also feature faculty development programs and expanded space supporting online education—a rapidly evolving and critical component of the academic landscape, even prior to the COVID pandemic.
As another prominent addition to the CU Denver neighborhood on the Auraria Campus, the project will complement the university’s refined masonry palate while showcasing public spaces with expanses of glass, including a new retail space. The City Heights Residence Hall is pursuing a LEED Gold rating and will include a green roof on the Learning Commons, as well as five beehives to support the campus’ pollinator habitat.
“The City Heights Residence Hall is an exciting project that brings together on-campus student life and academic success by merging housing with student academic support services,” said Stantec Principal Dominic Weilminster, in a statement. “Once complete, the facility will dramatically shift the campus culture, celebrating the diverse student body that makes CU Denver so special.”
Set to open August 2021 for residents, the building is in alignment with the potential ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Operational and physical design adaptations could include modified dining operations to allow for longer meal periods and reduced density at mealtimes, modified cleaning procedures, and touchless faucets for handwashing throughout.