CSU goes vertical on final building at new Denver campus

Vertical steel construction is underway at Hydro – the final of three buildings at the CSU Spur campus in Denver to hit this major construction milestone.

The CSU Spur campus at the National Western Center is focused on offering education programs for learners of all ages and opens its first of three buildings in January 2022:

  • Vida, a building focused on animal and human health; will open in January 2022.
  • Terra, a building focused on food and agriculture; will partially in January with full opening by April 2022.
  • Hydro, a building focused on water; will open in November 2022.

“CSU Spur will be home to science, policy, innovation, and research on display – anyone who visits Spur will see science and scientists in action,” said Jocelyn Hittle, assistant vice chancellor of CSU Spur and special projects for CSU System. “Starting in January, youth and families can see in real time what it means to be a professional working on big global challenges—and know that they can have a role to play—all while experiencing fun, hands-on education.”

Hydro is a 125,000-square-foot building that will bring water research to life and will be home to the new Water Quality Lab for local utility Denver Water. Denver Water’s role at the CSU Spur campus will be centered around research, innovation, policy and education, said Jim Lochhead, CEO and manager of Denver Water.

“Planning for the water demands of the future requires innovation and an understanding of how customer needs and policies surrounding water in our state are changing. This includes not just urban water solutions, but also how to improve agricultural production and watershed health,” Lochhead said.

Still images from one of two CSU Spur construction cameras showing the progression of the Hydro building.

The CSU Colorado Water Center will also be engrained in activities and research in the Hydro building, focusing on water research, policy, and innovation. A key benefit, though, is that the entire CSU Spur campus will be open to the public, providing the opportunity for everyday visitors to watch research-in-action – turning every visit into a learning opportunity.

“This work will build on the solid foundation of our work at CSU, building on even more educational and research potential as well as outreach to a new audience,” said Jennifer Gimbel, interim director and senior water policy scholar, CSU Colorado Water Center.

An additional benefit is the natural environment connected to CSU Spur. The Hydro building backyard will back up to the South Platte River – the river borders the larger reimagined National Western Center, and will be cleaned up as part of the project.

“Denver Water is excited to participate in a project that will further water science while improving habitat and access along the South Platte River. The river access will not only serve as a nice amenity to the campus, but allow stakeholders and Colorado’s next water citizens to study and improve the urban watershed,” Lochhead said. “The revitalized South Platte River is the perfect backdrop for what will soon be home to Denver Water’s state-of-the-art water quality laboratory.”

As the largest building at Spur, the Hydro building will be the epicenter of activity and is home to flexible classrooms and rentable event spaces, a flexible theater seating up to 250 people, activated outdoor spaces with connectivity to the river, and a farm-to-table café, serving greens grown in the Terra building rooftop greenhouse.

The CSU Spur campus will be an art destination that reflects the local and global communities — art at Hydro will include works by Eric Tillinghast, Nikki Pike, and Anthony Garcia, Sr. of Globeville’s Birdseed Collective.

Hydro broke ground in October 2020 and will open in November 2022; it is designed by Hord Coplan Macht and SmithGroup.

“As we mark these construction milestones, the CSU Spur campus really begins to come to life, and we are thrilled to open our first buildings to the public in January,” Hittle said.

About CSU Spur

In 2022, the CSU System will open CSU Spur, where innovative ideas and unforgettable experiences come to life at the National Western Center. CSU Spur’s three buildings at the center of the landmark project in north Denver will ignite and fuel new ideas around water, food and health and their impact on our lives and our world. Spur is where learning is open and accessible to all. Where researchers tackle the world’s most pressing problems around water, food and health. Where art and culture challenge and surround you. Where rural and urban, local and global intersect.

Learn more at csuspur.org. Follow @CSUSpur on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn, and subscribe to the Spur quarterly newsletter.

About the National Western Center

The National Western Center is a year-round, global destination for ag and food innovation, western heritage and culture that will open in Denver in 2024. We will convene the world at the National Western Center and at nationalwesterncenter.com to lead, inspire, create, educate and entertain in pursuit of global food solutions.