First chancellor’s forum explains master plan, new campus projects

Feb. 18, 2013

Samantha Morley
[email protected]

Students, staff and faculty filed into the University Center Theater on Feb. 7 to hear the first chancellor’s forum.

The meeting aimed to educate attendees about current and upcoming projects on campus.

“This morning we are going to be doing really three separate things that are exciting and are new and one of which is challenging,” Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak said. “I’m getting you ready for what good news this really is. I’m excited.”

Susan Szpyrka and Gary Reynolds presented the Facilities Master Plan. “We’ve done an update of the master plan earlier, but [what] we’re going to do today is … tie this back to the strategic plan,” Reynolds said.

“Buildings are more than just brick and mortar; they really tie to what this university is about,” he said. “Our goal today is to show you how the master plan, the brick and the mortar, fits with all the other pieces of the university, the strategic plan.”

Reynolds then turned to a PowerPoint slide showing the projects for the university, including the current Summit Village expansion, the Lane Center (the construction on North Nevada), a parking facility with a recreational field, recreation center expansion, an academic office building, a coffee shop, an additional housing complex, a second health and wellness building, a track and soccer field and a Visual and Performing Arts complex.

“There are a few projects that are under construction, in design or we’re looking at moving forward with,” Reynolds said. The plan is available on the Facility Services website (

The Lane Center will host the College of Nursing and Health Sciences as well as wellness programs. The facility will also have a nutrition kitchen and a gym and will also work with Peak Vista, sharing exam rooms and cooperating with the other programs.

The CU Aging Center, Gerontology Center and the Trauma, Health and Hazards Center will be located on a different floor. The fourth floor will be home to the School of Medicine.

The Summit Village expansion will open in Fall 2013, and Szpyrka reported rooms are already being filled. The Office of International Affairs will also be in the new building.

“That will be a very welcome change for them,” she said. “But it’s also going to be great for our students because they are going to be located in the same building that we’ve designed with some additional features that may be of interested to our international student client base.” Rooms will feature a kitchenette, for example.

Philip Denman, a social media and communication specialist with University Advancement, discussed social media on campus. “When you hear social media, most of you probably have an image in your mind,” said Denman.

“You’re probably thinking of sharing statuses and photos of family and friends, seeing people’s dogs, what they had for dinner … We’re trying to do a lot more than just that.”

Denman explained how social media websites help to build a connection among students, staff and faculty. He highlighted the importance of interacting with students via social networking websites.

A Noel-Levitz survey of 2,000 college-bound seniors stated that 46 percent of them visited the college’s Facebook page, up 19 percent from 2011. “It’s an expectation now. It’s what students are looking for,” Denman said.

He also explained the new project readMedia, a gamification system that will give students awards and achievements for things they do on campus. Students can highlight and share what they are doing.

For example, a student would receive an achievement for completing his or her first semester at UCCS. The student would receive an email about the accomplishment.

Denman also stressed that social media is a “great way to connect with individuals, but it is a double-edged sword in some ways.”

He referenced how personal actions can affect users who tie their social media accounts to their work, therefore opening themselves to potential harm in their career if they post inappropriate content.

Shockley-Zalabak presented the last topic: altering spring commencement. She said the university has maximized World Arena capacity for one ceremony and will exceed the fire code limit next spring.

“That’s really good news,” she said. “It means we are not only graduating more students, but they are bringing their families and their friends to record numbers.”

In order to use the World Arena, admission must be limited. The chancellor, though, does not support limiting attendees. Therefore, there will be two ceremonies in the spring on the same day.

“We are going to have a long day of celebrating,” she said.

There will be a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. and a second at 3:30 p.m. The morning ceremony will be reserved for Letters, Arts and Sciences graduates.

The afternoon ceremony will be for Beth-El, the College of Business, School of Public Affairs, College of Education, and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Both ceremonies will have bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees confirmed.

“We will have a need for volunteers that are well versed,” she said, “The reality is that we will need people to be as enthusiastic for that 3:30 graduation as we were for the 11:30 graduation. I promise to do that. I will be as enthusiastic … I think it’s going to be a long day and I think it’s going to be a tiring day. It is a joyful day.”

The forum concluded with a speech from Shockley-Zalabak stating that the university’s growth is a testament of its success. She encouraged faculty and staff to take vitamins in order to prepare themselves for the days to come.