Denver Advantage and Campus Master Plan Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ | Building Initiatives

What do we hope to achieve through the Denver Advantage?

The Denver Advantage is a radical transformation for the student experience from access to achievement. Our goal is to create a holistic student experience that provides skill development, experiential learning and individualized career activation for all of our students:

  • Through the Denver Advantage we will create spaces in which people have a sense of belonging and can build community, whatever their background and interests.
  • The Community Commons will house spaces for classes, programming, studying and collaboration opportunities, along with dining and activities for student and community engagement for after-hours socialization to continue.
  • Centralized dining spaces will feature a variety of cultural cuisines to reflect the diverse student body we hope to attract.
  • Student support services will be housed in one area to provide comprehensive support and guidance instead of spread out across multiple buildings.

What do we hope to achieve through the Campus Master Plan?

Our goals are:

  • To align the physical campus with the mission of DU to be a great, private University dedicated to the public good. Creating spaces and opportunities for community engaged research and collaboration to solve global issues.
  • To guide both near- and long-term investments in the physical campus from housing to community gathering spaces and sustainable initiatives.
  • To create a shared vision for the future of the campus that will progress with the changing environment and market around us.
  • To generate support for the vision. A campus master plan can take decades to be fully achieved; generating support now helps guide the vision for how our built environment can become seamlessly integrated within the community around us for generations to come.
  • To create spaces and opportunities that foster a vibrant and inclusive campus community and connect us to our neighbors.


How much will the three buildings as part of The Denver Advantage Initiative cost?

    Projected costs are as follows:

  • First-time/First-year residence hall: $55.5 million
  • Community Commons: $72.5 million
  • Career Achievement and Global Alumni Center: $15 million
  • Total: $143 million


How will the University pay for these buildings?

  • The residence hall will be paid for by 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


How will the new residence hall impact the cost of living on campus?

Room and board charges are determined annually, at the same time as tuition and typically based on the rate of inflation. These construction projects will not impact those rates.


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.


What is the timeline for construction?

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 associated with the Denver Advantage 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.

These are preliminary design options, subject to change as we identify architect(s) of record and conduct further analysis.



Will the buildings be created with sustainability in mind?

Yes. Our most recent residence construction, Nagel Hall achieved LEED Gold certification and our most recent renovation and addition, the Anna & John J. Sie International Relations Complex is on track towards at least Silver and very likely Gold-level certification.


Will the food options be sustainable?

Yes. Sodexo has long partnered with DU in expanding our local food purchasing as well as developing food-composting programs. The Community Commons will have a new centralized dining facility, which will allow for more sustainable activity through scale. There also will be greater visibility around food preparation and featured ingredients. With input from our community members we will explore a variety of options including the feasibility of a greenhouse where we grow and preserve foods that could be used throughout the year.


How will these projects impact parking?

The impact will be minimal, but any changes will be communicated early and often. One of the purposes of the Campus Master Plan is to develop long-term strategies to improve pedestrian and bike safety, as well as mobility pattern, including maximizing the use of our existing parking capacity and systems. We will study how to make the street crossings on University and Evans safer. And we hope to increase the percentage of students living on campus, which in turn will help reduce the number of day-to-day car commuters.


Are you working with the city on transportation options?

As part of the campus master planning process, we will evaluate transportation and mobility. DU is already working with the City, the Denver Regional Council of Governments and RTD to look at ways to make the University of Denver light rail station a more attractive and effective mobility hub. The Campus Master Plan will also include recommendations and plans for the coming wave of autonomous vehicles that will change the way people use cars and move around the city.



What are the plans for upperclassman and graduate student housing?

While the new residence hall will focus on first-year, first-time students, we are aware of the cost of housing across Denver and the impact it has on our upperclassman and graduate students, faculty, and staff. The new facility will alleviate some pressure on existing residence halls. Through the Campus Master Plan process, we hope to identify and encourage development of affordable housing options for a wide variety of people who would benefit from living closer to the core of our campus.


Aside from housing, dining and community spaces, are there other uses for these new buildings?

All spaces will be created for maximum utilization. This could mean that areas that will hold classes and study/collaboration space during the day, may be transformed for programming or social gatherings after 5p.m. We need spaces to encourage a vibrant nightlife where our community can enjoy spending time.


How will The Denver Advantage benefit our international student population?

The Career Achievement Center will meet all our students’ needs, including international undergraduate and graduate students. We will bring together global employers and alumni who live and work outside of the United States, as well as international alumni who are working in our own backyard. Through programming and the new residence hall, we will be increasing cultural competency from the moment students arrive on campus. And the cultural dining options to be offered in the Community Commons will bring students, faculty and staff together to break bread.