A college or university completes a master plan to develop a long-term physical expression of its strategic plan, mission, and vision that reflects a broad-based consensus of stakeholders. Change is inevitable, so a successful master plan should be flexible, to allow an institution to address its real-time needs through capital construction and renovation projects that meet immediate space needs but are also consistent with its mission, long-term goals and priorities.
The 2017 Master Plan is the first comprehensive master plan undertaken by the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver). The plan was prepared to comply with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) requirement that all colleges and universities in Colorado complete a master plan every ten years.
The 150-acre Auraria Campus was created in the 1970’s as a shared campus for three distinct higher education institutions, the Community College of Denver (CCD), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), and CU Denver. A separate state entity, the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC), was established to administer and manage the Auraria campus, including parking and circulation, security, facilities maintenance, and janitorial services. Given this complexity the three institutions were integrated in previous AHEC Master Plans, the last of which was completed in 2012.
However, over the last forty years, the success of CU Denver has led to significant growth at Colorado’s only public urban research university. Its programs and facilities have expanded beyond the Auraria Campus to Denver’s central arts and business district and recently to South Denver. CU Denver can no longer be adequately conveyed as a chapter in a multi-institutional plan but demands an institution-specific comprehensive master plan.
Although enrollment growth and space needs for CU Denver were identified in the 2012 AHEC Master Plan, that effort did not include an in-depth analysis of all CU Denver academic, administrative, and support units. The 2017 Facilities Master Plan is the first detailed, data-driven plan exclusively focused on CU Denver and its future needs, priorities, and goals. It provides a framework for the future development of CU Denver that enables it to realize its strategic goals.
The plan proposes strategies to address five institutional planning categories: education, facilities, IT, infrastructure, and campus environment. Based on CU Denver’s specific priorities, the FMP includes an in-depth assessment of student and employee population growth; programmatic space needs; campus development capacity; opportunities for public/private partnerships and campus-downtown connectivity.
Growth in student, faculty, and staff populations are the primary driver of space needs. Population projections for all administrative, support and academic units, at the school/college and department levels were reviewed and verified. Additionally, space and utilization data were collected, validated, analyzed, and benchmarked to size and prioritize future facility projects that are required to meet anticipated student, faculty and staff growth over the next 10 years. The plan explores the future of the CU Denver neighborhood on the Auraria Campus, and identifies opportunities for place-making, public/private partnerships, and connections to the Downtown Denver community. The importance of student life, housing, and success to a vibrant urban university will be examined, and the plan will develop implementation strategies to improve the CU Denver student experience.
The plan does not include in-depth design solutions for circulation, open space, and utility/infrastructure improvements, which fall under the purview of AHEC and are addressed in AHEC's 2017 Master Plan.5
Four committees comprised of CU Denver staff, faculty, and administrators reviewed the plan to ensure that meets campus needs and complies with applicable regulations prior to approval by the Chancellor. Once approved by CU Denver, the plan was reviewed by the University of Colorado Board of Regents Finance Committee. The plan was also reviewed and approved by the Auraria Board of Directors to ensure that AHEC's 2017 Master Plan reflected and supported anticipated growth by CU Denver on the Auraria campus.
The Master Plan was unaminously approved by the University of Colorado Board of Regents on November 16, 2017. This marked the completion of the planning process that officially started on October 31, 2016. 6
You can download a copy of the 2017 Facilities Master Plan on this page. Copies of presentations about the plan that were prepared throughout the planning process are also available to provide additional context. If after reading these materials, you still have questions or would like a briefing about the plan, please contact the Office of Institutional Planning. 8