Construction continues, additions and changes still to come to campus

Sept. 29, 2014

Samantha Morley
[email protected]

A new housing village, Recreation Center and Visual and Performing Arts building are just a few of the projects UCCS will be working on over the next few years.

There are currently 69 projects on the docket for Planning, Design and Construction. The following are just a few of the largest and upcoming projects coming to campus.

Recreation Center

The Recreation Center project broke ground earlier this month. According to university architect Carolyn Fox, the $16.3 million, 47,000 square-foot endeavor is expected to be completed by fall 2015.

In order for construction to begin, it was necessary to relocate and bury Colorado Springs Utilities electrical lines that were running from Austin Bluffs Parkway to the top of the hills behind housing.

“They couldn’t stay there because the new building will be taking up basically all of [formerly] Lot 8,” Fox said. The lines have since been undergrounded at the Alpine Village expansion site.

“It’s much better in terms of aesthetic and it allows us then to have the full site to do the Rec Center,” she said.

Construction of a new roundabout on Stanton Road allows for easier access through that end of campus.

The Village at Alpine Valley

The $74.5 million project, which broke ground in April, is estimated to bring 515 housing units to campus by August 2016. The first phase will bring 292 beds and the second phase 223.

Charles Cummings, construction project manager, said that the project “seems to be going very well. [Kiewit Construction] has been very good to work with, very accommodating,” he said.

Cummings said that the access road near the village and new parking garage remains available to accommodate emergency vehicles as well as student comings and goings.

The construction will build three residence buildings: LaPlata, Cucharas (scheduled completion August 2015) and San Juan (scheduled completion August 2016).

There will also be the new Roaring Fork dining hall. Roaring Fork will take on the catering duties for the campus once it opens. Catering is currently handled through The Lodge.

Fox is monitoring the progress of the housing village expansion. She mentioned a large crane that is at the site and will construct all of the buildings.

“It’s a semi-permanent fixture,” she said. “It’s great that it’s gold. It’s one of our colors.”

The project will also include new landscaping that will match the current Alpine Village residence halls in order to create cohesiveness.

Visual and Performing Arts building

The new VAPA building is going through the design process. Two architect firms, one from Manhattan, N.Y. and the other from Denver, are teamed up to design the building. Both firms specialize in visual and performing arts.

“That one is moving forward but it is not ready to come out of the ground yet,” Fox said. “There’s a lot of very specific design for visual and performing arts, especially in terms of acoustics, lighting that we needed to bring in that outside expertise.”

The VAPA department is currently spread out across campus. Some classrooms are in Columbine and others at University Hall.

“We have people all over the place,” Fox said. “It’s one of the things that we’re really excited about with this visual and performing arts building is that we’ll be able to consolidate them.”

The planned building will occupy most of Four Diamonds. Three baseball fields and the parking lot will be removed. The softball and soccer fields will remain.

Three of the fields were frequently leased to outside parties, Fox said, therefore the impact will not be major to university sports.

“That has now come to an end and they’re not using them anymore. We’ll start dismantling them, taking down light poles and fencing, there isn’t much that makes up a ball field really,” she said.

When questioned about the removal of a parking lot, Fox said that the lot formerly known as Lot 15 and the new Alpine Garage will be enough to accommodate students.

“We’ve got much more parking than we’ve ever had,” she said. “There will also be a parking lot associated with the VAPA building.” The VAPA building’s estimated completion is 2017.

Other buildings on campus

The Copper and Eldora housing buildings as well as the Lane Center, Alpine Garage and Academic Office Building are still in the process of being closed out. Closing out completes fine details of the project and can take several months.

Copper and Eldora, both built last year, have minor issues with doors, the roof and stucco. Fox stated that nothing is wrong with the safety of the buildings, but that they just aren’t up to the standards of completion as stated by the project contract.

The Lane Center, which was completed in February, is also not closed out yet.

The Academic Office Building will have more fine details to fix, according to Fox. “We’re making some changes to the fifth floor,” she said.

The floor is not equipped to accommodate the users that frequent the location. The first floor is also undergoing several last minute changes to allow for easy use by people occupying the space.

“Here we have a brand new building and we’re already changing it, and this is not the first time this has happened,” she said, “This is life on a growing campus.”

The Alpine Garage and Field is also scheduled for fine-tuning. The structure still needs netting, scoreboards, landscaping and walking ramps.

“There’s still quite a bit of outside work that needs to be done,” Fox said. “We’re substantially complete, but not totally complete.”

Overall, Fox is pleased with the progress of the projects and is working on completing the structures to be as sound as possible.

“It’s the fine details until it’s done to our satisfaction,” she said.