The University of Denver Wednesday unveiled plans to transform the core of its campus into a bustling area for shopping and restaurants, starting with a $143 million construction project that will include a new freshman dorm and community commons area.
The initiative — called the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan — is a 10-year bid to turn the 125-acre DU campus into a vibrant college town in the heart of the city, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp said. It calls for bringing in more retail, affordable housing and restaurants to the campus and even a hotel on its north side.
DU wants to blur its campus boundaries while being more visitor friendly to surrounding neighborhoods, Chopp said. The school also will partner with the City of Denver on a variety of sustainable transportation options, she said.
“The needs of our campus and neighboring communities continue to evolve,” Chopp said. “We thought long and hard about what it means to plan for the future while keeping our core university values at the forefront. Education, the student experience and financial access remain our top priorities. To fulfill that promise, we’re creating spaces where people can establish a sense of belonging and build community.”
The first step in DU’s revamping is the construction of three new buildings, which are set to open in fall 2020.
• The $72.5 million Community Commons, which will include classrooms and study spaces, as well as places for programming, collaboration, activities and dining.
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• A $55.5 million first-year, 500-bed dorm.
• A $15 million Career Achievement and Global Alumni Center that will help first-year students network for career advice and mentors.
The new dorm will be paid for by room and board charges, while the Community Commons and Career Achievement Center will be paid for, in part, by philanthropy and partnerships. Once the buildings are open in summer 2020, all undergraduate and graduate students will pay a new fee of $6.50 per credit hour to support the Commons, the university said.
As far as transportation around the campus, DU has already launched a pilot bike-share program and in July, the school will start a program with Chariot Shuttles. Chariot will provide a shuttle service for the campus with stops at the light rail and other designated route stops, DU said.