UCCS is a relatively new university compared to our sister campuses in Boulder and Denver, but its infancy doesn’t validate the seemingly manic buildings across our beautiful campus. UCCS stretches across the bluffs with magnificent views of Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain, but our architecture doesn’t reflect the beauty of its natural surroundings.
From Columbine to University Hall, UCCS is surrounded by random works of architecture that doesn’t seem to have a clear vision of what the campus should look like. It’s almost as if with every new administration, there was a commitment to changing the look of the buildings with each construction project.
The useless pillars jutting out of Columbine is almost reflective of some Greek mythological palace, but really just comes out looking like a guest house on the Xanadu compound. You go inside and it’s even more of a mystery. The stairwell is shoved off to the side; I must admit I thought I was walking into a broom closet to go upstairs by the size of the door the first time I attended classes in Columbine.
Why does the building start on the second floor? I still find myself accidentally going to the top floor when I need to be on the third. It’s endlessly confusing.
Columbine is nothing in comparison to the worst of them all… University Hall. Uhall might be one of the ugliest and most outdated buildings I have ever seen. Why is it even called University Hall? It houses the Beth El College of Nursing.
While facilities like Dwire, Centennial, The Ent Center and the Hybl Center are cleaning up the proverbial architectural mess at UCCS, there was a real missed opportunity for our architects to follow the original formula. Our oldest buildings have some of the richest designs on campus.
Main Hall, formerly Cragmor Sanitarium for tuberculosis, is almost like the building you would find on a Central Californian university campus. It reminds me of UC Berkley’s campus, which is intricately hidden between its forest. Main Hall is shadowed by large oak and pine trees, with vines crawling up the sides like an old children’s fairytale.
While Main Hall could use a few updates itself, we should have used the template set by this historically rich building to influence the remaining architectural undertakings at UCCS.
UCCS, in the words of one my professors, is the “red-headed stepchild of the CU system” and the architecture reflects it. While we are not as large as Boulder or Denver, UCCS still deserves a campus as lovely as its faculty and students. Hey Boulder, could we get some of that Coach Prime T-shirt money to make a few adjustments? It would be much appreciated… asking for a friend.
New engineering building under construction. Photo by Taylor Villalpando.