Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Summer building projects show off plenty of elbow grease

With all the construction projects on campus this summer, DU might think about changing its motto to “Sanctus bovis, nos es districtus,” which loosely translates as “Holy cow, we’ve been busy!”

Consider some of what’s happened on campus since most students and faculty left in June: a $3.6 million addition to Cherrington Hall dedicated; a new soccer stadium and conditioning center taking shape; an art annex springing up; an arboretum pavilion getting under way behind the Mary Reed Building; the Village Commons transformed into the Driscoll Underground; construction of the School of Education’s Ruffatto Hall taking major strides; and $4 million worth of upgrades performed at a host of campus buildings.

Off-campus changes have occurred as well, including the pending opening of an Illegal Pete’s burrito haven and the conversion of a Blockbuster video store to a Noodles & Co. restaurant. Both are on East Evans Avenue at Williams Street.

For the DU community, campus projects are the most visible — especially the new soccer stadium, which recorded its first kick on the grass Aug. 28 at the DU Invitational women’s soccer tournament. Enough of the 1,900-capacity stadium was complete that a two-day attendance of about 1,300 fans watched games on the weekend inaugural despite construction setbacks due to weather, a severed sewer line and other delays.

“It was a successful opening,” says Stu Halsall, assistant vice chancellor for recreation and building operations at the Ritchie Center. “We had a good test of the field surface. Every coach had rave reviews.”

University officials are confident the stadium can accommodate this season’s games. Stadium completion is estimated for the end of September, with a spring dedication.

The 13,000-square-foot varsity strength and conditioning complex being built underneath the new stadium and the 12,000-square-foot art annex south of the Ritchie Center are estimated to be finished by Thanksgiving or Christmas. Art classes should be able to use the annex by winter quarter.

Perhaps as distinctive a campus feature as the soccer stadium is the shiny blue-tile roof of the SIÉ CHÉOU-KANG Center for International Security and Diplomacy at Cherrington Hall. The Center was dedicated Aug. 7 — the birthday of the building’s namesake, Sié Chéou-Kang, a diplomat, educator and author.

A second addition attached on the west side of the Sie Center is the Frederick S. Pardee Pavilion. The pavilion houses a video-conferencing center for the Pardee Center for International Futures, a sophisticated computer system that forecasts long-term global changes and trends.

Final completion of the two additions is under way, and staff is already starting to move in.

Work on Ruffatto Hall, the $21.4 million, 73,568-square-foot home of the Morgridge College of Education at Evans Avenue and High Street is 30 percent finished and on track for mid-June 2010 completion, officials say. Part of the project required widening the intersection at Evans and High and upgrading traffic signals. That effort is nearly over.

Other improvements are scattered throughout campus. Among them are sprinkler and fire alarm systems in the Shwayder Art Building, new double-pane windows in Johnson-McFarlane Hall, leak-proofing materials at several parking structures and renovations to Sturm classroom 453.

The Driscoll Underground in the former Village Commons area of Driscoll North has been changed into a gathering spot for individuals and groups. The food service previously offered in the Commons has been discontinued, with the kitchen area now used for catering services and food preparation at Sidelines Pub.

A pavilion taking shape on the green behind the Mary Reed Building will be a new venue for contemplating the campus. The Chester M. Alter Arboretum pavilion, named in honor of DU’s chancellor from 1953–66, will be a shaded gazebo structure with granite walls and brick paving, a bust of Alter and a map identifying significant campus features. Estimated completion is October.

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