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DU’s newest residence hall opens

Nagel Hall

Nagel Hall, a 150,000-square-foot, five-story 356-bed residence hall, opened Aug. 21. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

After 19 months of construction and anticipation, Nagel Hall opened Aug. 21. The 150,000-square-foot, five-story, 356-bed facility provides much-needed space and modernizes the University’s housing stock.

Nagel Hall’s first three floors house sophomores in four-person suites with two bedrooms and a shared bathroom. The fourth and fifth floors have apartment units for juniors and seniors. Each fully furnished apartment includes a kitchen, living room and four single bedrooms. Upper floors feature expansive views of the mountains, Denver skyline and DU campus.

The building was designed to encourage upperclassmen to remain on campus, says Mike Furno, associate director of housing operations. “Having a mixture of sophomores, juniors and seniors together helps diversify the campus,” Furno says. “Upperclassmen have experience and a maturity and academic focus that contributes a richness to the campus community.”

DU Trustee Ralph Nagel and his wife, Trish, contributed $4 million to spearhead the nearly $40 million project. Ralph, an accomplished artist, contributed works from his collection to be displayed throughout the building. At his request, a residential room with studio space has been designed for an artist-in-residence program being developed in cooperation with the School of Art and Art History.

To lessen the structure’s environmental impact, architects incorporated an energy-efficient heating and cooling system, operable windows, a copper roof made of 90 percent recycled materials, low-water-use faucets, dual-flush toilets, and low-VOC paint and carpet glues.

The University’s signature structural masonry, which is designed to last well beyond 100 years, was created from regionally sourced bricks. The project’s general contractor, GH Phipps Construction, recycled the construction debris, diverting up to 75 percent from landfills.

The University has submitted the project to the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

University Architect Mark Rodgers took care to design a building that not only fits into the surrounding landscape, but also serves as an open, central point of activity on campus.

“Nagel Hall is meant to be a building like Grand Central Station — a crossing point of campus,” he says. “It’s designed to be much more than a place where people sleep.”

In addition to students, Nagel Hall also houses academic research space, offices and classrooms for the Department of Psychology and classrooms for the Center for Teaching and Learning.

“So much learning happens in between class,” Rodgers says. “A university is built around the premise that better, more effective learning happens when students, faculty and staff interact.”

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