Revamped Study Space Ready To Welcome Students

Photo: Korina Rojo


At the start of the fall semester students walked on campus and were met with construction at every turn— literally.

Construction workers are remodeling the North Classroom, drilling into the concrete in front of the Plaza and P.E. Buildings, and building the Student Wellness Center, in addition to finally completing construction on the Auraria Library.

The $32.8 million project was state-funded, $6 million of which were donations. The construction started about five years ago and is projected to come to an end in January 2017.

The Auraria Library acts as a space for students of all three institutions on Auraria Campus to work together, study solo, and escape the turmoils and stress of college life in the Conf luence Café. Since construction began, however, it’s been hard for students to concentrate in and even maneuver through the library.

“They’ve taken a long time to finish,” Madisyn Yaron, a CU Denver 3D Animation major said. “It blocks off half the campus, and it’s been noisy, especially around the quiet areas.”

Communications and Marketing Director Jane Hood, however, believes the opposite.

“Students have been amazing with navigating through all the construction,” Hood said. “We put up a wall or we change carpeting and they just adapt.”

The first f loor has waves of incoming and outgoing students that occupy nearly every table, computer, and study nook in the room; on the second f loor, workers are still adding shelves and furnishing two new additions to the building, including a deep quiet study room and special collections space which holds different materials like manuscripts and cultural collections.

Throughout the years a committee of members from all three institutions and AHEC administration came together and reached out to students, staff, and faculty, asking them how they envisioned the library’s new look as well as what would help them most academically.

“At a university, your study involves every resource on campus,” Hood said. “You’re making movies, animation, so on—it’s a much fuller, rounder experience that you get during college instead of after it. We want students to be as prepared and have as many resources as possible. To be a modern library, you have to allow for that experience.”

One of the many cosmetic changes the library has undergone includes the orange canopy at the Lawrence Street entrance. It’s made up of 100 aluminum panels, with 2,000 holes cut by a water jet. The excess aluminum was removed and recycled, which brought back $500 and was put directly back into the project.

Hood and AHEC also enlisted the help of lead artist Andy Duffard of Chevo Studios, a Denver-based company, to create a piece of work that embodies and showcases the city of Denver. The art piece, made of native Colorado stones, starts on the Lawrence Street Lawn and stretches all the way to the Curtis Street Wall. The stones, which are also placed in the courtyard and cafe patio, are meant to “pin down” the building to Colorado.

“It’s kind of neat,” Hood said. “We’re in this metropolitan area of Denver, but we’re still pinned to our roots, and our roots are Colorado.”

AHEC, who oversees the project, wanted to achieve lead gold status, recycling all the materials they could to make the library more energy- and cost-efficient. To do so, they’ve installed new lighting and HVAC system. Minor changes, like noise reduction panels on top of the staircases to circumvent noise traffic have also been installed.

In addition to the study rooms, collaborative classrooms, and the discovery wall, students can soon look forward to a MakeLab and Innovation Garage. MakeLab, which will be located on the first f loor, will house a 3D printer. The Innovation Garage will be a space for creative collaboration and bigger, more complicated projects.

The library will be launching their new website to make things more accessible for students, and are projected to launch it in 2017.

Dilkush Khan
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