Alpine Valley expansion takes shape, first buildings to open Aug. 1

March 30, 2015

Jonathan Toman
[email protected]

The $74.5 million Alpine Valley expansion that will add 512 beds to on-campus housing by August 2016 is slated to complete phase one by Aug. 1.

The expansion consists of four buildings: Cucharas, LaPlata and the Roaring Fork Dining Hall slated for finish by Aug. 1, and San Juan, to be done by Aug 1, 2016.

In the next few weeks both Cucharas and LaPlata will be topped out with roof framing and the actual roof will be put up. Inside, wall framing, electrical and mechanical work, plumbing and windows will begin to take shape.

“It’s a pretty busy construction site,” said university architect and project manager Carolyn Fox. “A lot of that is happening inside that you’re not seeing. As soon as the building is enclosed then you’re only going to see the exterior finishes.”

The expansion, which will change the name of Alpine Village to Alpine Valley, will also encompass the three existing buildings of Antero, Shavano and Crestone. In contrast to those buildings, the expansion will be for freshman exclusively.

The rooms in the expansion buildings are suites, not apartments, due to the lack of a kitchen. The majority of the suites will include single rooms, but less expensive doubles will be available as another option.

Costs of room options have been set, pending Board of Regents approval in June. Rooms (with meal plan included) comparable to Summit Village will average $100 more.

The ground floor of Cucharas will house classrooms that will be utilized for freshman seminars. LaPlata will house the main reception area, the mailroom, laundry room and office spaces. All three buildings will have an open area on each level for floor meetings.

Another major component of the expansion is the Roaring Fork Dining Hall, a separate two-story building that will house food service for students living there in addition to 100 percent of the catering for the university, which currently comes out of The Lodge.

This means that the kitchen will be “substantially larger” than if it just served students, according to Fox.

Roaring Fork will be completed two weeks before the opening of Cucharas and LaPlata to ensure sufficient time for food service staff to complete proper cleaning, equipment training and food stocking.

The dining hall will house different venues, including a multipurpose room and a small retail store to facilitate grab-and-go options in addition to the ability to seat 400 students, 200 on each floor.

According to Ralph Giese, director of Residence Life and Housing, The Lodge can house 350 students after the 2012 expansion.

A custom terrazzo floor will be prominent in Roaring Fork, a material that is also used on campus at the entrances to the Academic Office Building and the Kraemer Family Library via El Pomar Plaza.

“[It’s] a great, highly durable material,” said Fox. “But there’s also the ability to do something kind of artistic with it.”

The floor in Roaring Fork will be an abstraction of rivers and geography and will include nine colors of terrazzo.

Re-landscaping around the existing three buildings will also occur before Aug. 1, 2016 as part of phase two in addition to San Juan.

“That’s a major change that will be impacting that area,” said Fox. “It will look unified when we’re done.”

Fox said that San Juan may be finished early.