CSU part of master plan for National Western Center


Colorado State University will be a major partner in the changing face of North Denver, and the draft master plan released today for the reimagining of the National Western Center, a combined 270-acre site near Interstates 70 and 25, showcases the university’s unique role in this transformation.

Colorado State University is one of five partners — including the City and County of Denver, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, History Colorado, and the National Western Stock Show — that have come together to create a shared vision for the future of the National Western Stock Show Complex site as part of the Mayor’s North Cornerstone Collaborative Initiative.

“I believe that assisting in attaining this vision for the NWC is not only fully aligned with the mission of and our vision for the second 150 years of Colorado State University, I believe that helping to attain this vision may well be critical to the long-term vibrancy of our university and the educational system of which it is a part,” said Colorado State University President Tony Frank.

Site plans for year-round entertainment and learning

The site will host an improved National Western Stock Show every January, but will expand in scope to become a vibrant destination and year-round attraction, skillfully blending innovation and tourism through experiential lifelong learning, the arts, entertainment, competition, and commerce. In addition, the center will seek to address themes of global issues of food, energy, water, health, and the environment.

“CSU is pleased to be a part of this new partnership to reimagine the complex,” said Amy Parsons, CSU’s vice president for operations. “We are excited to work collaboratively to conduct research and education on food and agriculture, and linkages to water, energy, and health, as a means to address local and global challenges in ways that reflect our Western tradition of innovation. We’re excited to be part of the vision for this new hub of year-round activity that will be an asset to the surrounding communities and State of Colorado.”

02-1909 Stadium
The new CSU Center on the National Western Center grounds will provide opportunities for experiential learning and addressing global-scale issues.

Colorado State University’s footprint in the site will be part of what is now the Hall of Education, and the institution has proposed an equine sports medicine and community outreach clinic, a food systems learning center, a water resources center, collaborative arts programming, a business incubation and industry partnership center, and Denver Urban Extension programs, as part of the new National Western Center. The university aims to be an educational hub for the collaboration, and will present opportunities for hands-on learning.

The plan also explores:

  • Renovating current historic structures for new uses, such as food and artisan markets, offices, and shops.
  • New buildings to house flexible classroom, lecture and lab space for research and distance learning; art galleries; community spaces; and equine shows and competitions that would draw global audiences.
  • Interactive displays, mobile applications and state-of-the-art sustainability features.
  • Outdoor recreation and connections via pedestrian, biking, and perhaps even horseback riding trails.
  • A Denver Urban Extension-run farm demonstrating a variety of innovative urban farming techniques.

History and collaboration a large part of plan

“The National Western Stock Show and the site itself, with such buildings as the 1909 Arena building, serve as a symbol of the Western heritage of Colorado,” said Ed Nichols of History Colorado. “The skills and the perseverance of the rodeo participants, the cattlemen, farmers and ranchers remind us of the hard work and independent spirit of the Colorado agricultural community.”

In addition, plan partners worked to engage the surrounding neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea through numerous community meetings and the National Western Center Advisory Committee.

“The National Western Center master plan lays out an integrated vision that strongly supports the values set forth by Globeville, Elyria and Swansea residents through the neighborhood planning process. Through year-round programming, the plan also creates a campus that is welcoming to tourists and neighborhood residents,” said Denver Councilwoman Judy Montero.

The Stock Show has been woven into the fabric of Colorado’s history for the past 108 years, and the reimagining process crafted by CSU and its partners provides the opportunity to take this Colorado tradition 100 years into the future.

Public feedback on the draft Master plan

The draft Master plan is available for public comment prior to being presented to Denver City Council for adoption in the first quarter of 2015.

Additional information on the National Western Center can be found at the City and County of Denver’s North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative website. For more information, to request a presentation on the plan, or to provide comments on the draft plan, please email Jocelyn Hittle, director of Denver Operational Initiatives.

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