Students Play Role in Designing and Planning New, $45 Million Academic Village at Colorado State University

Students at Colorado State University will put their knowledge and ideas to work submitting environmentally-friendly design ideas for the new Academic Village, a $45 million project at Colorado State scheduled to open in 2007. The village will create a space for on-campus students where academic studies can be incorporated into the residence hall system with new laboratories and classrooms, faculty offices and a dining center.

Students studying construction management, landscape architecture, interior design, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering as well as students in the Resident Hall Association will be involved in the project. The students will work to incorporate actions that positively influence resource awareness, sustainability and decreased resource consumption as a model for future campus construction.

"The project will be beneficial to students because they will learn to work as a team and get real life experience," said Jim Dolak, executive director of Housing and Dining Services. "The design team will also benefit with the flow of continuous ideas from the students."

Mike Evans, the lead architect for the project, and Dolak introduced the project to the students in MC576, Sustainable Technology in Built Environment, a class taught by Brain Dunbar, director of the Institute for the Built Environment and associate professor in the Construction Management Department at Colorado State. Initial ideas from students, which included reusing stone from the demolition of buildings, new lower water plumbing fixtures, using renewable sources such as bamboo and cork for the flooring and a living roof design, are being considered for the project.

The first phase of the two-year project is an Engineering Residential College and Honors Residential College, which will house 420 students on the southwest side of campus as a replacement for Ellis Hall. This first-of-its-kind housing unit on campus will include seminar and meeting rooms, multi-media classrooms, living space for residence faculty members and other academically-oriented spaces. Students who are currently a part of the Engineering and Honors programs and who will reside in the new colleges will have a chance to voice their opinions throughout the planning process.

The design team for the project includes an architectural firm from Virginia as well as a design team from Colorado State that includes Facilities Management and Housing and Dining Services staff.

Dunbar’s students have also presented ideas for other construction projects at Colorado State, including three green classrooms in Guggenheim Hall that are currently seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and the Colorado State Transit system, a project that is slated for completion in 2006.

Colorado State is a leader in environmental responsibility. In 2004, Colorado State became the first university in the country to offer on-campus residents the option to purchase wind power for their residence hall rooms or university apartments. As of January of this year, 213 students, about 4 percent of the students who live on campus, have purchased wind power.  

For more information about the new Academic Village, contact Tonie Miyamoto at (970) 491-4314 or e-mail