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Saturday October 19th 2019

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CU Seeks Comment on Master Plan


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East Campus Plan (click to enlarge) images from http://tinyurl.com/65ddbsw

CU-Boulder’s Campus Master Plan, released this week, could bring dramatic changes to some of the more far-flung parts of the campus.  But the plan calls for only incremental changes to the core campus area.

The master plan generally addresses development over the next 10 years but also examines long-term, build-out scenarios.  Some of the most significant changes are slated for the East Campus, which was originally designed on a suburban-style industrial-park model, but which the university now wants to transform to a more traditional campus feel.  The master plan envisions connecting Discovery Drive west to 30th Street through what is now Smiley Court and connecting 33rd Street across Boulder Creek, to help complete the street grid.  A significant amount of new construction is planned for East Campus, with buildings grouped into “academic clusters” around traditional-style campus quadrangles.  The existing Smiley Court family housing along the east side of 30th Street is planned to be replaced in order to increase the number of units.

The new development on East Campus will challenge planners to upgrade the transportation system between the area and other parts of campus, especially the main campus and Williams Village.  CU and city staff have been looking at improved bus service to East Campus, as well as possible changes on Colorado Boulevard and 30th Street, in order to accommodate the increased demand.

Williams Village is also expected to see major development.  The plan calls for faculty/staff housing on the southeast side of Bear Creek, and another new dormitory next to North Hall, the dorm on Baseline that is just being completed.  North Hall will hold 500 beds and is expected to get its first undergrad residents this fall.  The master plan shows large parking structures between the new dormitories and Baseline Road, and between the Bear Creek Apartments and Apache Drive.  A new road would loop through the area, connecting Baseline Road with Apache Drive via the faculty/staff housing area.

The master plan foresees redevelopment of the existing areas of family housing north of Boulder Creek and between 17th and Folsom Streets.  New buildings would provide 1,500 housing units and some academic facilities, while portions closer to the creek would be open space or athletic fields that would be less prone to flood damage.  To improve access, the plan envisions extending Athens Street east to connect to Folsom, and connecting 22nd Street south from Arapahoe to the extension of Athens Street.

Grandview Plan (click to enlarge)

The plan also calls for considerable development in the Grandview area, but is short on specifics.  That may be because previous plans to demolish many of the existing, early-20th-century bungalows in the area were highly controversial.  The master plan states that “[a]lthough specific development plans for the area are flexible, a plan has evolved preserving some of the 1910 to 1930s era bungalows…”  At the same time, the plan makes it clear that some existing buildings will be removed to make room for new development.  Grandview has been identified as a possible location for a conference center, among other potential uses.

On the main campus, most construction is expected to be redevelopment or expansion of existing buildings, or new construction on what are now parking lots.  One parking lot of particular interest, just across Broadway from the main campus, is on Pleasant Street between 13th Street and Broadway.  Earlier this week, a panel of experts convened by the Urban Land Institute to study how to revitalize the Hill area identified this lot as a key parcel, whose redevelopment could help to add energy to the area.

The campus master plan documents are available online at http://www.colorado.edu/masterplan/.  CU is soliciting input on the plan through the middle of April.

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