DU unveils plans to create new spaces for student success
The University of Denver has announced a transformative commitment to the future of the University, geared at directly improving the student experience and success. Over the next three years, more than $140 million will be invested to address pressing needs in student housing, career development and community building, revealed by Chancellor Rebecca Chopp as The Denver Advantage. Once completed, The Denver Advantage will transform the student experience and move the campus into a 21st century model of education.
In addition to The Denver Advantage initiative, the University is embarking on a yearlong Campus Master Planning project. Together, The Denver Advantage and the Campus Master Plan have the same goals in mind: to align the physical campus with the mission of DU; to guide both near and long-term investments in the physical campus; to create a shared vision for the future of the campus; to generate support for the vision; and to create spaces and opportunities that foster a vibrant and inclusive campus community that connects us to our neighbors. These initiatives will include physical spaces that allow for increased faculty, staff and student collaboration; a location where students can connect with employers and alumni; expanded housing options to offer affordable solutions; and a reimagined campus that blurs the borders into the community to promote greater interaction with the neighbors and businesses surrounding us.
To launch these projects, the University began a series of meetings with students, faculty, staff and community members to provide detailed information, answer questions and listen to ideas. The input received will help shape the future of the University and create a blueprint to guide the evolution of the physical environment on and around the DU campus. The projects will help better serve students and realize the vision outlined in DU IMPACT 2025, the University’s strategic plan.
At the first of these meetings on Thursday, May 11, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp detailed the three critical projects within The Denver Advantage aimed directly at addressing the most pressing student needs:
- First, a reimagined Community Commons, where students, faculty and staff can interact and collaborate
- Second, a new residence hall for first-year, undergraduate students; this will include more spaces for dining and socializing in a cluster model that creates family-style communities from year one
- Third, a Career Achievement and Global Alumni Center where students can meet with top employers and connect with a network of 140,000 alumni around the globe
As input is gathered and the Campus Master Plan takes shape, the University, which has partnered with Ayers Saint Gross, a planning and architecture firm, plans to submit a proposal to the Board of Trustees in early 2018. Below are frequently asked questions about these initiatives. If you would like to provide input and learn more about these projects, please click here.
What is the timeline for construction on the three buildings included in the Denver Advantage?
While some soil testing and surveying may happen this year, construction of these buildings is slated to span from the summer of 2018 through the summer of 2020. First, architects will be chosen and the buildings will be designed with input from community members.
Where will these buildings be located?
The Community Commons will be created on the existing Driscoll Center site with potential expansion to the west on the north side of Evans towards Ruffatto Hall. The Residence Hall site has been identified on University-owned land along the east side of High Street between Asbury and Evans. The two sites are adjacent to one another, which is perfect as the programs are complementary.
How will the University pay for these buildings?
- The residence hall will be paid for through room and board charges;
- The Community Commons and Career Achievement Center will be paid for, in part, by philanthropy and partnerships of approximately $45 million;
- Once the buildings are open—in Summer 2020—all undergraduate and graduate students will pay a new fee of $6.50 per credit hour to support the Commons
Other than the three buildings included as part of the Denver Advantage, will the Campus Master Plan lead to even more buildings?
The Campus Master Plan is aimed at looking where the University, and the surrounding community, might be 10 years from now and beyond. DU has no plans to increase current enrollment, but over a decade’s time it will likely be necessary to renovate and enhance existing buildings to meet academic and other needs. There also is some property on our main campus that is outdated and will need to be redeveloped. One of the goals of the Campus Master Plan is to understand what might be the best long-term uses of available land on campus. We also seek to convene developers and other stakeholders to ensure more cohesive development around campus that provides more affordable housing and livelier retail and entertainment.