Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Summer’s no picnic for busy maintenance, construction crews

Summer construction on campus and off has made the DU community a study in things you see, things you don’t, and soon, things you won’t.

Perhaps the most visible change on campus for returning faculty and students is Ruffatto Hall, the new home of the Morgridge College of Education. Dedication of the $21.6 million building — located on East Evans Avenue at South Race Street— isn’t until later this year.

In the things-that-will-be-disappearing department is Boettcher East, a wing of the 48-year-old science, engineering and research building at 2050 E. Iliff Ave. Efforts by Historic Denver to preserve Boettcher East did not succeed, and the University will proceed with its plan to demolish the complex’s deteriorating wing on Sept. 24–25. When the dust settles, the ground will become part of a swath of south campus green space intended to extend to the Newman Center at East Iliff Avenue and South York Street.

In the meantime, crews are completing renovations to the building’s sister wings, Boettcher West and Boettcher Auditorium, which will remain in use. The auditorium has been divided into three classrooms and a new fire-safety system will be installed. Heating and ventilation systems have been improved, and Boettcher West is using energy-efficient boilers. Also added was new electrical service, in addition to other improvements.

Upgrades aren’t always visible, says Dave Snyder, campus operation director, but they’re important ways to keep the campus humming.

“We try to look five years ahead to see what we can accomplish on upgrades,” Snyder says. “Summer is a very important time for major renovations.”

Johnson-McFarlane Hall received new carpeting, new restrooms, student lounge space, a laundry room on the main floor, and for the first time, individual heating controls in each room. These are among visible improvements to the residence hall. Since J-Mac is a freshman dorm, “the ones coming in won’t know the difference,” quips physical plant director Pam Carnahan.

Space in J-Mac left by College of Education personnel who moved into Ruffatto Hall will be occupied by members of the Theatre Department, freeing up Margery Reed Hall for the Daniels College of Business.

Off campus, renovations are under way for a new restaurant in the former Stick-e-Star at 2070 S. University Blvd.

Three medical marijuana outlets are operating within a short walk from campus, and a second vendor — Mercy Dogs — plans to sell hot dogs “a la cart” on East Evans Avenue just west of University Boulevard.

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