Construction to Begin Soon on Renovation of Colorado State’s Lory Student Center Plaza

Construction is expected to begin within the next week on Colorado State University’s Lory Student Center plaza to make it more attractive and functional as a central gathering place.

"This is part of a long-range plan to make Colorado State’s architecture more cohesive," said Keith Ickes, vice president of Administrative Services. "When we’re done with the plaza, it will include more landmark features, more grass and seating areas and less concrete."

The first phase of the renovation is scheduled to be completed by the end of October. The overall landscape plan for the plaza calls for removal of the buckeye trees, currently along the eastern edge of the plaza. They will be replaced by more appropriate elms that will, over time, provide more shade for the plaza. Initial work will require the immediate removal of four of the buckeyes, two of which need to be removed due to their poor physical condition. The remaining trees would not be removed until the plaza project is completed in summer 2008, when other major construction in this area is completed.

The plaza project must be completed this fall so construction can begin in the spring of 2007 on a four-story, $13 million Computer Science building between the plaza and the Warner College of Natural Resources. Student fees will pay for the new building, which is scheduled to open in fall 2008.

Once that building is complete, plaza renovation will continue with the pedestrian conversion of Isotope Drive and parts of University Avenue. Those streets will be replaced with wide, landscaped sidewalks and seating areas for pedestrians.

Excluding the Foothills Campus and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Department of Computer Sciences is currently the only academic department not housed on campus, Ickes said. The department, which is within the College of Natural Sciences, occupies part of the University Services Center at 601 Howes St.

The new Computer Science building will include a computer lab open to all students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Another 24-hour study space will be completed this fall within the Microbiology building near the Newton outdoor sculpture. That 1,500-square-foot study center, which was a high priority of the student Facility Fee Advisory group, will be added by enclosing a portion of the existing Microbiology building.

Student fees will fund this Computer Science study space as well, Ickes said.

In a separate but related project, campus officials have begun painting the Clark building a deep rock red and tan to break up its massive appearance and complement the sandstone appearance of the adjacent Plant Science building.

Lecture halls within Clark will be renovated starting this fall, so some classes will be moved temporarily into a new 200-seat lecture hall being created within Johnson Hall near the Oval.

"With the passing of the Student Facility Fee and Referendum C, the campus and the Board of Governors have been taking a closer look at the campus architecture and building environment," Ickes said.

He said the university recently hired Wallace Roberts & Todd, a San Diego-based architectural firm, to develop some architectural guidelines for the university.

Colorado State also plans to create a new architectural design review committee, or DRC, made up of professionals, faculty and a student. The university has solicited several departments for student nominees for this new committee, and the nominees who apply will be interviewed by the external professional members of the DRC early in the fall term.