University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak made a pitch for partners Thursday as she outlined the latest phases of an ambitious growth plan for the campus.
A parking garage topped by artificial-turf soccer fields and an addition to the university’s recreation center are the next two projects in a $260 million expansion of the 540-acre campus planned over the next 15 years, Shockley-Zalabak said.
The two projects are needed to accommodate enrollment growth from 9,777 students this year to 15,000 students on campus and another 2,000 taking classes only online by 2020, which will require the campus to double the number of classes it schedules on weekday evenings or weekends, Shockley-Zalabak told more than 200 business leaders attending a Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance luncheon at the Antlers Hilton hotel. She expects to finance the two projects and nearly all of the expansion with private investments, public-private partnerships and revenue generated from the facilities.
“We are actively seeking partnerships that will leverage the university’s resources and accelerate our growth, but won’t include any state support,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “We are creating a vehicle to invest in the university in ways that will create a real return for our investors and partners,” referring to UCCS Development Corp., a newly created tax-exempt nonprofit that the campus will use to finance the parking garage, recreation center addition, a health and wellness building, a visual and performing arts center, a multipurpose sports complex and other facilities.
Two projects already are underway at UCCS — a $17.5 million addition to the Summit Village housing area that will add two four-story towers by next fall for 198 students and the $18.5 million Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences that will open in January 2014. The 54,000-square-foot, four-story center will include a senior community health clinic, the CU Center for Aging, the UCCS Gerontology Center, the UCCS Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences and a branch of the Anschutz Medical Campus for third- and fourth-year medical students.
UCCS will start construction next week on a 1,227-space underground parking garage on a site across Austin Bluffs Parkway from its recreation center; the $23 million project includes two artificial-turf soccer fields on the top level and is scheduled to be completed in March 2014. The school also plans to begin construction shortly after the parking garage and fields are completed on an $11.5 million project that will more than double the size of the 5-year-old recreation center and is scheduled for completion in fall 2015.
Shockley-Zalabak targeted her plea for investors and partners on three major construction projects that will cost more than $100 million and are planned over the next three or four years. UCCS will be seeking proposals in coming weeks for a second medical building for its health and wellness village, a 300,000-square-foot visual and performing arts complex that will house TheatreWorks, the UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art and music and dance programs, and a sports complex that will include an arena, fieldhouse, soccer field and high-altitude track for research.
By 2020, UCCS expects to more than double its impact on the local economy from $310 million today to $750 million. When the expansion is complete, UCCS will be able to accommodate 35,000 students, many of which will come from other areas of the state. Shockley-Zalabak said the campus is airing commercials in the Denver area touting its athletic teams and will soon broadcast those ads in the Springs.
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