Campus News / Summer 2017

Initiative will fund construction of new student center, residence hall

A re-imagined Driscoll Student Center, a residence hall dedicated to first-year students and a new career center for students and alumni all are in the planning stages, thanks to an April decision by the Board of Trustees to raise money for new construction to improve the student experience at DU.

Funding for the new and redesigned buildings—expected to total $143 million—will come from philanthropy and partnerships, room-and-board revenue and a student fee once all buildings are open for use. Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

“We believe these initiatives are foundational to key elements of DU IMPACT 2025,” board chair Doug Scrivner said in a campus forum announcing the “Denver Advantage” initiative. Chancellor Rebecca Chopp, who introduced the DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan in 2016, said the new construction will help DU attract the “best and the brightest” in students and faculty.

A new student center, known for the moment as the community commons, will provide collaborative spaces and expanded dining options for the campus community. Conceived as a central hub where students can convene for socializing and cultural activities when the school day is done, the building will allow for informal encounters among students, faculty and staff. It is hoped that its design also will encourage alumni to return for community events and to mentor students.

The new residence hall for first-year students will provide space designed in a “cluster” model—placing small groups of 20 or so students in “micro-cohorts” to support a sense of community and help students launch a successful college career.

“This will also increase our ability to house more juniors and seniors, who are increasingly asking to live on campus to be better connected to the campus community and because rising Denver rents are becoming less tenable,” Chopp said. “Looking forward, we expect to address calls for more affordable housing for graduate students, as well as faculty and staff who wish to live closer to campus.”

In response to DU IMPACT 2025 and its call to the University to prepare students for lives and careers of achievement and purpose, a new Career Achievement Center is expected to be more visible and more accessible to students, employers and alumni.

“This important resource is not [currently] used by nearly as many students and alumni as we would like,” Chopp said. “We want to help students prepare for career achievement throughout their time at DU—and connect them with our network of 140,000 alumni living around the globe, as well as employers in Denver and beyond. [We] believe a new facility will help make this possible.”

In addition to the Denver Advantage initiative, the University has embarked on a yearlong campus master-planning project, partnering with planning and architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross. The effort will find ways to enhance DU’s position as a vital resource within Denver and the surrounding community, promote diversity and inclusion, and improve the University’s sustainable practices.


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