The University of Denver announces $140 million in campus capital projects

Photo: DU’s student Driscoll Center, constructed in the mid-eighties, will be redesigned to better accommodate current student needs.

As part of DU’s Impact 2025 strategic plan, the University will invest $140 million dollars over the next three years on campus capital projects according to the recently released Building for the Future. As we mentioned before, the University is focusing on designing and building community spaces on campus to drive the community to the University of Denver campus and keep students on campus. 

As announced, at the first of these meetings on Thursday, May 11, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp detailed the three critical projects called 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. Basically, this is redoing the current William T. Driscoll student Center which is very chopped up with few spaces for larger community and student meetings and engagement. The University is hosting sessions with students for input on the newly redesigned facility features. The sky bridge over Evans Avenue will remain.
  • 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. Again, housing is expensive and tight in the University area. An additional dorm is intended to alleviate the housing shortfall while generating more student engagement on campus.
  • 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. The current Leo Block Alumni Center is outdated, cramped, and does not have appropriate space for alumni events or student career counseling and development. Bringing this under one roof in a modern facility is a great idea.

The greater effort which will take much longer is the ‘University District’ which is part of the 2025 plan. The idea is to integrate the local university neighborhoods, retail, and the University of Denver more closely to drive activity, collaboration, and engagement. Currently, the University is conducting surveys to determine what people want in a University District.

18 thoughts on “The University of Denver announces $140 million in campus capital projects”

  1. Long overdue on the Driscoll Center overhaul. Would like to see DU’s history and sports traditions reflected in the design of the public spaces.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No kidding, Swami. The Driscoll Center was dated and old when I was in grad school at DU – and that was almost 20 years ago. It’s about freaking time.

    Longer term, I’m happy to see DU driving discussions surrounding the potential of the University District. The urban environment of the campus, while certainly not unique to DU, is part of what makes DU such a cool place….and part of what makes University Park and surrounding neighborhoods some of the most vibrant and desirable neighborhoods in Denver. However, as a DU alum AND long-time UPark resident, I’ve always been a bit dismayed at how the neighborhood businesses and homes seem to exist in little more than an uneasy truce with the school, rather than part of a collaborative neighborhood that engages everyone to their benefit.

    Hopefully good, IMPLEMENTABLE ideas come out of the 2025 process…guess we’ll see…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All three of these are well worth doing, particularly the Driscoll redo. The library renovation (transformation) has been a wonderful contributer to campus learning and these projects continue that momentum.

    Now what is needed is the ULTIMATE CAMPUS IMPROVEMENT.
    D.U has been divided. dissected, separated into two campuses from the beginning. Evans Ave slices it in half. Not good!
    It’s a functional problem. Just stand there and watch the students waiting for the light to change so they can continue on,

    What is needed is getting the city to lower Evens about two feet and building a connecting slightly arched structure connecting the campus for the first time, The sky bridge would be eliminated and the space incorporated as the western edge. The eastern edge would be out as far as the Frat. house structure allows.

    In addition to it’s primary purpose as a walking connector over Evens the surface could be used in some type of “high ground” advantage:: ie: presentations to the large lower northern lawn, pod sites for informal group meetings ,etc,etc. As I learned in the military, the high ground is always an advantage. Use it! Don’t just use it as a walk way, which of course is its primary function, but design a useful function into it. Our campus architect team has done an absolutely great job in designing all of our new structures and I’m sure they could come up with an exciting design.

    As an engineer( D.U. of course) I can state that there is no technology here.. It’s routine structural stuff. the challenge is getting the city to modify any problematic codes. Danny boy can handle that city stuff over a club sandwich luncheon with the mayor. One hour max.

    Now the bucks!! As a starter it’s all yours Boone fans.
    Imagination creativity and optimism needed. Get enough money and we can call it the Boone Bridge or to please management let the students name it.
    I wrote this while having a nice glass of Italian San Giovese. I think I’ll have another.

    .

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  4. Anon–your comment is interesting, but it confuses me. How can all of what you talk about be done by lowering Evans 2 feet? Are you talking about having a full fledged east-west tunnel below the DU campus? if so, how can that be done by lowering Evans by 2 feet? Maybe you meant 20 feet?

    If so, I kind of like the idea. But I’m pretty sure that it would not achieve it’s funding by private donations. DU would probably have to convince the city to do it, perhaps with the incentives of a better traffic flow and increased safety for students?

    By the way, in terms of campus improvements, I love the new pond area in front of the new domed engineering building. Lookin’ good. I know that there were some historic preservation arguments for keeping the old 1960’s science building to the west of the new engineering building, but I do hope that they eventually get rid of that old science structure as it just doesn’t fit the campus anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why the fuck should Denver tax money be spent solely for the benefit of a private institution? That is stupid and wasteful…DU doesn’t deserve a dime of public money. WTF???

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  6. DU is a huge local economic engine to the Denver area – it puts about $1B into the local economy every year, between the payroll, university purchasing, research grants, student spending, on campus conferences, sports events, arts events, etc., hotel and restaurant spending, etc.

    If it really wanted to do a tunnel, it could probably do find a way to get it done with the city.

    But I don’t see that as part of the long tern plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “It puts about a billion dollars” into the economy every year? Back that crapfest up, dude. DU overall has a bad rep with native Coloradans. If it had such an impact, I am sure the bad rap would not exist. You are totally ridiculous and live in a fantasy land. No natives give a shit about DU unless they win at hockey — then that is even fleeting.

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  7. Not a tunnel at all but merely about a 2 foot drop of Evens.
    Go look at the site before making tunnel statements. The southern side has about a 10 ft. plus height advantage to work from . Start about 30 ft back from the south side walk at the highest point. Buildit horizontally across or slightly arched if needed. The city codes will dictate the height needed. The downward slope to the northern lawn will be dictated by the functionality design

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  8. DU is in no way significant to the city of Denver. The C&C of Denver would still thrive without DU. You are ridiculous. DU relies waaaaay more on our City & County than the C&C relies on DU. Get a grip…

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  9. Also, 39% of the undergrads are from Colorado now. While your comments may have been true 20 years ago, DU actually has a rather large presence in Colorado. Add professional degrees which are mostly Colorado residents and DU is very relevant.

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  10. I think the “town” dude is angry at the “gown.” Can’t we all get along? Looking forward to the campus improvements, I was honestly surprised to hear that they had other major projects in the works. The campus is looking quite nice these days as it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. By the way, I’m sorry that I didn’t go to survey the site, before I made a “tunnel statement.” I have this bad habit, where I make tunnel statements prior to doing my engineering due diligence. I just can’t help it sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. LOL a guy trying to troll because an anon poster suggested an infrastructure change. DU is doing the right things to continue to upgrade the campus and make itself more prominent. There were rumblings of a medical school, which I hope is still at least being tossed around because it would really add to the research impact of the school in addition to community engagement

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The medical school feasibility turned out to be not so feasible when they looked at it back around 2011. At the time, it was postulated that DU medical school would help solve the primary care doctor shortage in this region It’s likely a $200 million undertaking just to get it up off the ground, and my guess is that DU probably didn’t feel it had the right level of potential financial support without draining other areas of the university.

      Additionally, primary care docs generally don’t get the prestige or big bucks that specialists do, and thus DU would always be a second fiddle medical school behind CU in terms of applicant quality, academic prestige and long term philanthropy.

      Liked by 1 person

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