Health Education Outreach Center will connect students, clinicians and community

Ceremonial shovels broke ground August 16 to celebrate the start of construction on the Health Education Outreach Center at Colorado State University, a brand-new facility for the study of human anatomy and neuroanatomy that will rival those of the best medical schools in the country.

The four-story Haselden Construction project, slated for completion in December 2018, will add approximately 39,600 square feet of space to the existing Anatomy/Zoology building to round out CSU’s science mall. “This new building will house not only state-of-the-art teaching labs for human anatomy and neuroanatomy, but also space for public outreach, continuing education, and virtual and augmented reality — all designed to facilitate student engagement, active learning and outreach,” said Colin Clay, head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “For over half a century, CSU has led the world in anatomy education at every level and we’re now constructing a world-class facility that will allow us to expand and improve all that we do.”

Seven years in the making from vision to groundbreaking, the center will provide needed space for greater numbers of students to pursue science and medicine, attract new cohorts of future health-care professionals to Colorado, and provide greater opportunities for public engagement.

color photo of CSU leaders, construction reps with shovels at groundbreaking for the Health Education Outreach Center
From left, Bob Kaempfe, Tod Clapp, Dr. Mark Stetter, Rick Miranda, Colin Clay and Mark Frasier break ground on the Health Education Outreach Center. Photo: Heather Hall/CSU

“Our goal is to build a center of excellence that will serve as the national benchmark facility for anatomy, neuroanatomy and health education,” said Tod Clapp, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and head of its human anatomy program. “It will also allow us to provide students and clinicians with the opportunity to interact while getting world-class training.”

With floor-to-ceiling electrochromic glass windows, the open and inviting building design is meant to foster engagement and collaboration. “The design team has done a fantastic job giving this building and the emerging science mall a unique look and feel that resonates very well with the rest of campus,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president of CSU.

Through the growth and expansion of successful programs like Anatomy Camp and Brain Awareness Week, the center plans to serve not only more undergraduate students, but also more K-12 and future medical students by collaborating with the National Western Center and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The center’s partnership with the National Western Center will bring its renowned hands-on educational outreach programs in health care and the life sciences to visiting students and families from around the world, providing students who’ve never before considered a career path in science or medicine with exposure to new possibilities.

“This new facility will allow us to really kick it up a notch,” said Dr. Mark Stetter, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

CSU and the National Western Center

Colorado State University has made a long-term commitment to the reimagining of the National Western Center in North Denver, and the communities surrounding the project. Efforts are under way to create partnerships with community schools, non-profits and businesses, and to actively engage in the community.

A key and founding partner in the National Western Center, CSU will have three buildings within the 250-acre complex upon completion. The project, which will break ground in the coming years, expands and regenerates the current National Western Stock Show site, turning it into a vibrant, year-round experiential, community-centric, life-long learning destination in the heart of Denver.

As Colorado’s land-grant university, CSU’s mission of research, service, and access, fits with the outreach mission of the National Western Center. CSU’s plans at the new center focus on research and education programming in the areas of food systems, water, environment, energy and health. The university has initiated programming and service outreach efforts before buildings are constructed, as part of its commitment to the area. Read more information on the National Western Center website.

artist's rendering in color of the new Health Education Outreach Center at CSU
The Health Education Outreach Center will face east onto the CSU science mall. Image: Hord Coplan Macht

“It will provide us with opportunities to think broadly about how to use new technology, engage students at a higher level, better connect with the public, and get K-12 students excited about going to college.”

Attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony got a chance to learn about the evolution of the building project, as well as experience firsthand CSU’s new, one-of-a-kind human virtual anatomy program, a key component of the new building that will allow students to learn anatomy in more depth than ever before.

“It’s a little surreal,” said Clapp. “We started this project seven years ago and I’m very proud to be standing here today to see it become a reality.”

Want to help?

Give to the Health Education Outreach Center’s new human anatomy and neuroanatomy learning laboratories.