Photo feature: UCCS Ent Center for the Arts breaks ground


Shakespeare and shovels were combined Aug. 13 as construction officially began on the $60 million UCCS Ent Center for the Arts.

A legion of CU, UCCS and community leaders joined together to launch an estimated two years of work on what will become the fifth largest building at UCCS.

IMG_5069“50 years ago in 1965, UCCS was established because the legislature and the governor believed southern Colorado deserved a campus of the University of Colorado,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said before a crowd of 300. “Today, as we celebrate our golden anniversary, UCCS was once again recognized by the legislature and the governor in the form of financial support from the state toward the construction of this building.”

Shockley-Zalabak recognized Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, and Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, for their efforts. CU Board of Regents Chairman Kyle Hybl thanked state officials as well as individual and foundation support for the project. Randy Bernstein, president, Ent Federal Credit Union, reflected on Ent’s partnership with UCCS that led to the naming of the arts center. Susan Szpyrka, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, served as the event’s master of ceremonies. Zach Woolweaver, president, Student Government Association, focused on the benefit the new center will have for students.

“Students won’t have to rehearse Shakespeare in hallways, tune musical instruments in their cars and perform vocal recitals in dining halls,” Woolweaver said.

IMG_5348Peter Quince and Nick Bottom, two performers from Theatreworks production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” brought a theatrical flair to the event, unrolling scrolls and beckoning more than 70 dignitaries to take places behind shovels.

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.

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.

IMG_5108“It took a lot of people to make this project – a dream for this campus – possible,” Susan Szpyrka 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 Theater 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.

IMG_5597Bryan 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.

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— Photos by Tom Kimmell and Jefffrey M Foster
— Video by Media Services

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