J-Mac to face wrecking ball

It may not happen tomorrow or the next day, but 50-year-old Johnson-McFarlane Hall, located on the northeast corner of Iliff and High Street, is headed for the dustbin according to an article by The Washington Park Profile. As we reported before regarding DU’s 2025 capital plan, otherwise known as Denver Advantage, there will be an aggressive 10-year program to redevelop a number of buildings on the Denver campus. Phase 1 projects include a new Career Center and Residence Hall and Student Commons with DU starting  construction on campus this summer.

The 60’s design of Johnson McFarlane Hall features peaked roofs and is home to the Pioneer Leadership program and several other groups. The undergraduate dormitory will remain until new student housing is completed.

Aspen Hall, formerly used for teaching offices, has been vacated and according to published reports, was planned to be torn down in early 2017 and converted to green space for the campus over the short term. Long term, the current Johnson-McFarlane corner could be combined with the former Aspen Hall site for future apartments and/or residence hall expansion on campus.

Aspen Hall
Aspen Hall is vacant and was to be demolished in 2017.

In a presentation to local media on May 30th, DU expanded on their long-term vision of Phase 2 capital projects which include adding a hotel/conference center, retail space, and restaurant development – likely between Buchtel Boulevard and Asbury, east of the Ritchie Center. The 10-year vision is now said to include affordable housing, a goal expressed by DU administrators to assist university staff, professors and graduate students who are facing Denver’s sky-high real estate and rental prices.

In the near-term, DU will be adding new signage at entrances to the school and around campus, according to the Washington Park Profile article.

Project costs are covered by room and board (new dorms), donations, development partners and a newly announced ‘student fee’. Students will be expected to pay an additional $6.50 per credit hour to support the Student Commons – i.e. Student Union. (The current 2018-19 non-scholarship tuition is $49,392 for full-time students at DU). The University is also going to be adding a pilot ‘shuttle system’ in July along with a redesign of several paths and crosswalks – adding pedestrian ‘islands’ for the 12,000 pedestrians crossing Evans Avenue every day.  DU also piloted a bike sharing program with an app called Ofo this past school year. The bright colored yellow bikes can be seen around the University Park area – and have received mixed reviews from local residents.

Image result for Ofo University of Denver

LetsGoDU will continue to keep readers advised of future projects on the University of Denver campus.

8 thoughts on “J-Mac to face wrecking ball”

  1. That really sucks. JMac is a distinctive building, and I was hoping that DU would keep it around. Halls and the other one, though…ugly as sin. They should tear those down before tearing down J-Mac. J-Mac at least has its own style, and it fits well in that corner of the campus. I do hope they reconsider.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. J-Mac was built in 1957 and was one of the first co-ed dorms in the Western US. After 60+ plus years of underclassmen living there, I am sure it is well worn out, and not worth refurbishing yet again. Centennial Halls and Towers were both built in 1964 for the DU Centennial year and are also reaching the end of their useful lives as residence halls.

    While many of us have great memories of our early college days in all three buildings, I doubt there will be many tears shed when those buildings are replaced, as they should be.

    The biggest residential change coming to DU is that once the new “community commons” is completed, there are plans to centralize much of campus dining there, as they close some (or perhaps all) of the eating facilities in the residence halls.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When is all this demo/construction work slated to begin? I’ve driven by campus several times this summer and nothing seems to be happening.


  4. ANONYMOUS 7-5. All I’m saying is, I know people who began DU between 1968-2017. They all agree, those kids who get involved at DU get assigned to Halls. Baseball team played right outside of Halls. Hockey, hoops, GCB, business school, frats, student union all within 10 minute walk. There was no reason to be near J-MAC. I once asked a Chancellor about this. He replied: Yes, only the cream of the freshman class are assigned to Halls.


  5. Athletes definitely live in Halls. Halls’ towers are closest to all of the athletic facilities. Makes sense.

    JMac is home to the Pioneer Leadership Program, and the Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice living and learning communities. The PLP annually includes the “top” incoming students, at least from 2013 on.

    You may have spoken with a chancellor (questionable), but I’m sure it wasn’t Chopp so any other conversation is old news and historical.


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