National Western Center breaks ground in Denver

The National Western Center, a project in which Colorado State University is an integral partner, broke ground Nov. 3 in Denver.

“Today signifies a milestone for the National Western Center, and a furtherance of the unified efforts that have created the vision for this project,” said Amy Parsons, executive vice chancellor of the CSU System, prior to her remarks at the ground-breaking ceremony. “CSU has been working with partners in the community for several years now, and the university is honored to continue our long-term commitment to this area.”

Parsons noted that throughout the next several years the neighboring communities, project partners, civic and government leaders, and nonprofits will work together to build a campus that will be about more than buildings; it will be about discovering solutions to world problems, providing education to anyone who wants to learn, creating entertainment for all ages, and establishing this space in Denver as a global hub for activity around energy, sustainability, agriculture, water, and health.

Following site preparation, CSU’s Water Resources Center, in partnership with Denver Water, will be the first building to be constructed as part of the project, which will cover the 250-acre site near the intersection of interstates 25 and 70.

Ana Campos and Amy Parsons at groundbreaking
Ana Campos of Bruce Randolph School and CSU Executive Vice Chancellor Amy Parsons.

Community voices

Swansea resident Ana Campos spoke on behalf of her community and the students in her AP Human Geography class at Bruce Randolph School, who have been learning about the project taking place in their neighborhood and were present at the ceremony.

“I choose to speak in hopes of carrying the message of the voices who haven’t been heard,” said Campos a freshman.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock honored the two-year anniversary of voter approval for Measure 2C, which provides funding for the first two phases of the National Western Center master plan, by thanking Denver voters for supporting the measure.

“Two years ago, Denver residents overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to the vision of the National Western Center, and today, we begin to realize that vision and deliver on that promise,” Mayor Hancock said. “That vote of confidence, and the phenomenal work of all the campus partners, has led us to this ceremony and the bright future for this campus and this community.”

The National Western Center, when complete, will transform the National Western Complex site into a year-round global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation. The Center’s global reach will also have a powerful local impact by increasing neighborhood access to the South Platte River, adding bike lanes and running trails, and providing jobs and educational opportunities to surrounding neighborhood residents.

“We celebrate the next 100 years of agriculture and the promising future of our western heritage for generations to enjoy,” said Paul Andrews, President & CEO of the National Western Stock Show. “With the completion of the Master Plan and framework agreement for the NW Center, a sustainable business model is in place to strengthen the National Western Stock Show for centuries, to be enjoyed by exhibitors and attendees from all over the world.”

The Framework Agreement signed in September solidifies the responsibilities of each partner. The City and County of Denver is responsible for designing and building phases 1 and 2. By the end of 2017, the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center will complete the program structure to include schedule and other elements associated with all campus construction for phases 1 and 2.

Community celebration   

A family-friendly community appreciation celebration took place the evening of Nov. 3, at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., Denver, CO 80216. The event was free and open to the public, and included food, entertainment from DJ Javi, and programmatic offerings with hands-on activities from CSU, National Western Stock Show, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and History Colorado.

CSU’s Little Shop of Physics showcased hands-on experiments for the attendees, and CSU Extension brought baby chicks to engage with the crowd. Community members experienced a variety of activities that mirror potential program offerings that are being considered as part of the future National Western Center.

Little Shop of Physics exhibit.
Denver artists collaborated on-site at the community appreciation event to create a mural reflecting the National Western Center project.

Colorado State University 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 campus 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 campus 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. For additional information, visit

National Western Center

The National Western Center represents a visionary transformation of the National Western Complex site into a year-round global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation. Together with our partners City and County of Denver, Colorado State University, Western Stock Show Association, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and History Colorado, we will convene the world at the National Western Center to lead, inspire, create, and entertain in pursuit of global food solutions. For more information, visit

Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center

In 2011, Mayor Michael B. Hancock committed to keeping the historic National Western Stock Show in Denver. Since then, the City and County of Denver has led the efforts to reimagine and fund the future of the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum into an active year-round global destination serving the local community. The Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center is responsible for the design build of Phase 1 and 2 of the master plan.  

National Western Stock Show and the National Western Center 

The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is the anchor event at the National Western Center.  As a founding partner, NWSS is committed to growing the center, its programs and events to become a year-round destination for agricultural innovation and heritage.  The Stock Show will feature state-of- the-art equestrian facilities, stockyards, educational programing and innovative livestock accessibility and functionality.  As a charitable organization, NWSS will continue the mission to provide college and graduate level scholarships in agriculture and medicine for practice in rural areas.

The NWSS is one of Colorado’s preeminent tourist destinations and is held each January for 16 days. The annual event is considered the Super Bowl of livestock shows, as it hosts nearly 20 breeds of cattle throughout the 16-day run.  The event hosts one of the world’s richest regular season professional rodeos, world-class equestrian shows and Colorado’s largest agricultural trade show – all of which attracts more than 660,000 guests each year.  The Stock Show welcomes attendees from 45 states and 30 countries demonstrating not only national but international influences in agribusiness and western heritage.  The Stock Show’s annual economic impact for the City & County of Denver and nearby communities exceeds $100M annually. For more information visit