The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) reached a major milestone, as it celebrated its official “topping out” for its new City Heights Residence Hall and Learning Commons. The 182,000-square-foot residence hall, which will represent the first on-campus student housing complex for the university, will add approximately 555 beds to the center of the urban campus. The project is being delivered by the JE Dunn/Stantec design-build team.
The City Heights Residence Hall project represents an exciting time for life on campus and campus culture as a whole, adding the first true, on-campus dormitory for first-year students to the campus. The project was designed for first year students, and will support their transition to CU Denver. The new seven-story residence hall comprises two wings connected vertically by internal communal spaces scaled to encourage student interaction between floors. 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 of the building 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 and vibrant facility that will serve residents and non-residents alike with the aim of making academic support approachable and convenient. In addition to student support, 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.
The residence hall design will enable a vibrant and supportive campus experience for residents, while creating a communal heart for all campus users. 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 at the corner of 11th and Larimer Streets). 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 project has easy access to pedestrian, bike, and bus routes. With its location directly adjacent to the center of downtown Denver, City Heights Residence Hall will play an important role in continuing the connection and activation of campus life to downtown.
“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,” says Dominic Weilminster, Stantec principal based in Denver. “Once complete, the facility will dramatically shift the campus culture, celebrating the diverse student body that makes CU Denver so special.”
The building is set to open August 2021 for residents. 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.
Stantec is providing architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, lighting, and sustainability services on the project.
“We are so excited to open the doors of City Heights to our Lynx Community,” said CU Denver’s Chancellor, Michelle Marks. “Stantec has thoughtfully designed this structure to provide our first-year students a place that feels welcoming and supportive, where they can live and learn together and get the support that will help them thrive.”
Stantec in Education Design
Stantec is ranked among the nation’s leading design firms for education projects. Building Design + Construction magazine recently named Stantec the No. 1 Architecture/Engineering firm in the United States for the second consecutive year. Stantec was also ranked in the top 10 for the university Sector and No. 1 in K-12 education design.
Stantec has been designing campus environments for over six decades and has more than 450 education clients. Special areas of focus include student housing, science and technology facilities, academic medical centers, student centers and dining facilities, academic facilities, libraries, and campus planning.