Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

City praises Ruffatto project, passes rezoning

Praising the University of Denver for its commitment to “educating the educators,” the Denver City Council on Nov. 17 approved rezoning to allow construction of a new home for DU’s Morgridge College of Education on East Evans Avenue.

Final approval for rezoning the 2.5-acre site between High and Race streets was granted unanimously amid lavish praise for the $23 million Ruffatto Hall project.

“[You’re] putting your money where our problems are,” District 6 Councilman Charlie Brown said. “This is desperately needed.”

“DU deserves a shout-out for the work they have done,” District 7 Councilman Chris Nevitt added. “The work that DU has done to reach out to the community has been exemplary.”

The rezoning sailed through city review without opposition, and the project is already taking shape in anticipation of a spring 2010 opening.

“Most universities house their colleges of ed in less-than-wonderful facilities and then wonder why we can’t attract the best and the brightest into teaching and school principal-ships,” former Morgridge College of Education Dean Ginger Maloney told City Council. “The University of Denver has decided to be different.”

On the outside, the new building will be “beautiful and traditional,” she said. “A crossroads between the community and the campus.” But inside, it will be state-of-the-art learning facility and “a force for positive change in education.”

“We will be able to connect through interactive technology to classrooms around the globe to watch best practices, whether they’re in Singapore or right down the street.”

Ruffatto Hall is named for Katherine Ruffatto, daughter of Joan and Mike Ruffatto, who donated $5 million in recognition of help their daughter received through the University’s Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP).

The new building will house the LEP program as well as other pieces of the Morgridge College, which was named for Carrie and John Morgridge. The philanthropic couple donated $10 million to spearhead the building drive and create a University training center for reading recovery.

“We’ve been successful in creating new ways of preparing teachers and principals for the challenges of the 21st century,” Maloney said, “and, boy, do we have challenges.”

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