Colorado State University Will Open New Academic Village this Fall for Engineering, Honors Students

Note to Editors: Artist’s renderings of the Academic Village are available with the news release at

Colorado State University wants to increase student success through the new Academic Village, a facility opening this fall that will combine living and learning into a single community.

The $42 million facility, which includes new residence halls for the College of Engineering and the Honors Program and a Dining Commons, is scheduled to open in fall 2008. The buildings have been designed with input from students about student life and "green" building techniques.

The Academic Village will house about 420 students – 240 students from engineering and 180 students from the Honors program. The rooms have private baths.     

Jim Dolak, executive director of Housing and Dining Services, hopes that bringing living and learning together will help students thrive academically. The university has a comprehensive retention plan that focuses on improving the quality of the undergraduate experience at Colorado State for all students so that they will remain in school and graduate.

"Students seem to be more successful when academics and living are integrated," Dolak said.

The Academic Village is reserved for Engineering Living Learning Community students and Honors Living Learning Community students. All but a few spots are reserved for incoming, first-year students.

Tonie Miyamoto, communication coordinator for Housing and Dining Services, said the College of Engineering and the Honors program were involved in the design process.

"The involvement of the two programs allowed the design of the Academic Village to be tailored specifically to each program," Miyamoto said.

Colorado State students also were involved in the design process. The architects met with the Residence Hall Association and other focus groups to determine how to design a living community that would be most beneficial to the students.

Jered Lish, a speech communication major, will be a resident assistant in the Academic Village this fall. He chose to live in the Academic Village because of the opportunities it presented.

"Colorado State is committed to academics, and it is quite obvious through the Academic Village that the university wants to create an atmosphere that is focused on students succeeding academically," Lish said. "Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?"

When the Academic Village was first being planned in 2004, students in construction management and sustainable building courses came up with some ideas to make the new facility more environmentally friendly.

The facility will feature ultra low-flow water fixtures to conserve water use. As with the rest of the residence halls on campus, wind power will be an option for students to purchase. Additionally, displays with information on energy consumption as an educational tool will be featured in the community area of the Dining Commons.

The Dining Commons will be environmentally friendly as well. The two-story building will feature a "pulper" that takes food waste and, using water, compacts the waste and then re-circulates the water to conserve it. Housing and Dining Services is investigating options for composting the food waste from the pulper.

The 44,000-square-foot Dining Commons is scheduled to open in 2008. Located in the center of the Academic Village, it will have a sports grill and seating for 200 on the lower level. The upper level seats 500 and has a variety of dining options, including salads, a Mongolian grill, pasta bar and omelettes to order. The Dining Commons will also feature an espresso bar, a grab-and-go express and a convenience store.

The Honors Living Learning Community is reserved for first year Honors students. Several Honors floors will remain in Newsom Hall that will feature a limited number of single rooms for upperclass Honors students. The new Honors Living Learning Community has study rooms and will also have a fireside lounge where students can gather in an informal atmosphere and listen to speakers and other presentations.

The Allison Community of Engineers in Allison Hall will be relocating to the Academic Village in fall 2007. However, several Engineering floors will remain in Allison Hall with a limited number of single rooms. The new Engineering Living Learning Community will have multipurpose rooms, study lounges, electronic classrooms and design studios. The community also will feature a new type of computer network created and donated by Sun Microsystems and a design studio modeled after design rooms at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., presented the university with a $35,000 check in support of the Academic Village Design Studio at the May 15 Denver Executive Luncheon hosted by the university.

"The design studio is an integral part of a state-of-the-art residential facility – so that the bonds of friendship that are formed in the dorm can become bonds of collaboration that click in the classroom," said Maguire, who was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.

Unlike the use of jump or flash drives, Sun Microsystems’ Sun Ray computer stations will bring up entire work sessions using ID cards. Students simply insert the ID – with a computer chip in it – into the Sun Ray system, and the entire desktop, not just saved documents, will appear.

The Engineering Living Learning Community also has a two-story faculty apartment.

Students living in the Academic Village will pay about 6 percent more than a typical suite room for features such as the private bathroom and integrated classroom and seminar space in the residence halls. The Engineering Living Learning Community has a program fee to support its network, computer labs and other academic initiatives within the living learning community.

Dolak hopes the entire Academic Village community will encourage more faculty and student interaction.

"I hope that many mentoring relationships will form," he said. "The Academic Village offers an opportunity for students to build relationships with faculty members that will continue to be beneficial to them even after they graduate."

For more information on the Academic Village or to view a slideshow of a model room, visit A model residence hall room is open at the construction site noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.