UCCS ready to begin $60 million community arts center

An artist's rendering of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts.
An artist’s rendering of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts.

CU and UCCS leaders will be joined by state and local elected officials and community visionaries for a 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13 groundbreaking ceremony for the $60 million UCCS Ent Center for the Arts.

CU Board of Regents Chair Kyle Hybl, community fundraising chair Sally Hybl, UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Ent Federal Credit Union CEO Randy Bernstein and Student Government President Zachary Woolweaver will welcome university, community and state-level leaders who helped create a vision and provide funds for a new UCCS arts center that will serve the campus and the Colorado Springs community.

The event will take place on North Nevada Avenue, just north of the UCCS Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences and across from the privately owned University Village Colorado Shopping Center. A reception will follow the groundbreaking and will be in Berger Hall.

The UCCS Ent Center for the Arts will be built on the site of three former softball fields and parking lots. New, expanded free student parking lots were constructed over the summer on the site.

“As UCCS celebrates its 50th birthday, we will begin construction of a new, vibrant hub for the arts in southern Colorado,” Shockley-Zalabak said. “In a single location on the revitalized and vibrant North Nevada corridor, people from throughout this region will soon be able to enjoy both professional and still-developing visual and performing arts in a spectacular setting.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will include 70 university and community leaders who will ceremonially begin construction of the 92,000 square foot building. Site work, including roads, utilities and related infrastructure began in spring 2015 and continues. By summer 2016, passersby should see the framework for the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts. The project is scheduled for completion in early 2018.

“It took a lot of people to make this project – a dream for this campus – possible,” Susan Szpyrka, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, said. “We easily could have 700 people with shovels to start the project.”

The UCCS Ent Center for the Arts will include the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater and the Osborne Studio Theatre with supporting space for the UCCS Music Program, Theatre and Dance Program, Theatreworks, the 240-seat Chapman Foundations Recital Hall, a 750-seat performance space and a new campus home for the Galleries of Contemporary Art. Additional learning and rehearsal spaces, a large lobby for public receptions and student engagement spaces are also planned.

Bryan Construction, Colorado Springs, is the general contractor overseeing the design/build of the infrastructure improvements. Design of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts is led by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, New York, with Semple Brown Design, Denver, serving as the architect of record. JE Dunn Construction, Colorado Springs, will serve as the general contractor for the building. The venue will be designed to encourage and support working relationships with community cultural organizations and to provide direct public access to performances, exhibits and classes.

In March, UCCS announced a 15-year marketing and operating agreement with Ent Federal Credit Union valued at $12.6 million. The Colorado General Assembly approved $27.6 million in funds for the project, the University of Colorado Office of the President pledged $10 million and $10 million has been provided by private donors.

An artist's rendering of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts.
An artist’s rendering of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts.

2 Comments on UCCS ready to begin $60 million community arts center

  1. Let’s not upgrade the classrooms in Columbine and the Engineering building for the students that actually invest in an education for actual careers.

    No, let’s build a theater and a fancy apartment building with a ski simulator for rich kids.

    I mean come on.

  2. New theaters do cost in initial outlay but over its life they cause more donations and attract additional students that exceed its original expense. Result: any well operated theater eventually more than pays for itself and I am certain this will be the case for the Ent Center. The extra money it causes to be donated will then go to support educational outlays in all other departments, making a new theater a sound investment instead of a white elephant expense. The Ent Center is well designed and will have a positive impact on the university and the community from its first day of operation. It is a great example of money well spent.

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