Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak briefly looked back before providing a series of broad-ranging, optimistic updates for campus and community members this week.
Speaking Wednesday at the first campus forum for the spring semester and Thursday to a gathering of community leaders attending a University Club meeting, Shockley-Zalabak traced the campus history from fledgling to vibrant and focused on actions expected in 2014.
“Look to your roots in order to reclaim your future,” Shockley-Zalabak said, quoting a Ghanian proverb.
“One year from today, we will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of UCCS. It is significant that we have roots in how we were founded that is totally not the way most institutions of higher education came to be.”
Shockley-Zalabak connected mid-1960s community and corporate economic development pushes to create UCCS with present-day community partnerships including the City for Champions initiative and the February opening of the Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences.
At the University Club event, Shockley-Zalabak was joined by Mayor Steve Bach in tracing the university’s history and praising its progress. Bach, a 1968 graduate, said the success of UCCS was one of three community priorities. Bach’s other priorities are the Colorado Springs Airport and the City for Champions project.
Shockley-Zalabak cited multiple statistics to paint a picture of UCCS progress. Among them was record fall enrollment of 10,600, graduation rates that exceed those of 38 national peer universities, continued success of students as measured on professional exams and admittance to graduate degree programs. She also highlighted the lack of an achievement gap between ethnic minority and low-income students and majority populations and below average student loan default rates.
“The test scores speaks to two things: the quality of our students and the quality of the classroom experience and the support around that,” Shockley-Zalabak said.
“Thank you, everyone, for doing a good job.”
“For 2014, progress will continue with new programs and buildings to support them. Shockley-Zalabak provided updates on several key projects, which follow.
Academic Office Building. Located adjacent to Austin Bluffs Parkway and Columbine Hall, the Academic Office Building is scheduled open in late summer and will relieve overcrowding in Columbine. Departments are expected to begin moving in July.
Parking Garage and Recreational Field. Portions of the X,xxx space parking garage will open in March. The garage will be unique in that in will have a one-acre soccer playing field on the top level.
Housing expansion. An additional 515 student housing spaces is planned on the campus western edge. A ground breaking is planned for April.
Recreation Center. Construction is expected to begin in September on an expansion of the Campus Recreation Center. The expansion will include the Student Health Center and behavior health, an integrated care model that Shockley-Zalabak said may become a model for other campuses.
Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences. The first UCCS building on North Nevada will open in February. It will be home to clinics available to faculty and staff. Information sessions about the services offered, and how they will connect with medical insurance plans, are being planned for early February and will be shared..
Visual and Performing Arts Center. Planning is underway for a new Visual and Performing Arts Center located on North Nevada Ave. Last year, UCCS received $4.8 million for planning from the State of Colorado. . Another $13.3 million was requested this year and was included in Governor John Hickenlooper’s proposed budget. Private fundraising efforts are underway.
City for Champions. City for Champions. A 77,000 square foot sports medicine and performance center was one of four projects included in the City of Colorado Springs’ City for Champions proposal. Shockley-Zalabak emphasized that the UCCS project was part of long-term campus master building plan prior to the City for Champions proposal. Initial approval of the City for Champions project brought $13.3 million to the project.
General Assembly. For the first time in six years, the Colorado General Assembly is considering increases in funding for higher education. Final decisions from the General Assembly are expected in April.
To see a video of the forum produced by the Media Services Department, visit
— Photos by Philip Denman and Tom Hutton