History Colorado celebrated a building milestone in early October with the on-schedule and on-budget completion of construction on the new History Colorado Center—just one year after it topped out. The $110.8-million, 200,000-sq-ft state-owned facility will be a 21st Century museum, educational and tourist destination when it opens to the public next spring.

Courtesy of History Colorado Center
At the October 7 completion ceremony, an inscribed block of limestone was installed on the buildings exterior to honor Gov. John Hickenlooper (far left), former Gov. Bill Ritter (at the podium) and the 2008 Legislative Assembly, which helped fund the project.

The History Colorado Center serves as headquarters for History Colorado administration, including the State Historical Fund, the Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, and the Stephen H. Hart research library.
Located in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District and Civic Center cultural complex, the building was designed by Denver’s Tryba Architects, managed by the Denver office of Trammell Crow Co. and constructed by Colorado-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

According to Trammell Crow, construction of the project created more than 700 jobs and added millions of dollars to the community.

“We could not have accomplished such a dynamic public project of this level without the support and dedication of both the Hickenlooper and Ritter administrations, or without the expertise, dedication and passion of our building team—Tryba Architects, Trammell Crow and Hensel Phelps,” said History Colorado President and CEO Ed Nichols at the completion ceremony.

Over the next six months, more than 1,000 pallets of museum collections will be moved from a storage facility into a highly efficient, climate-controlled collection space at the History Colorado Center. Inside, the build-out of new, highly interactive 21st Century exhibitions, educational spaces, a restaurant, a museum store and other public spaces is under way.

“Now that the building is complete, we turn our attention to transforming the inside with new exhibitions and educational spaces. Once it opens to the public in spring 2012, the History Colorado Center will become alive as a thought-provoking center for civic conversation and an inspirational journey into the past for visitors of all ages,” Nichols said.

The Colorado History Museum was formerly located at 13th Avenue and Broadway. It closed to the public on March 28, 2010, and the old building was demolished in May 2010 to make room for the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. The History Colorado Center and the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center projects were financed together through certificates of participation and Build America Bonds, saving more than $200 million from the legislatively authorized debt service and using no state general funds, according to Trammell Crow.

In addition to job creation and their economic benefits, the two projects are also expected to provide significant savings in private lease payments and building maintenance expenses over the next 30 years.  

“The entire team associated with this project has met or exceeded expectations,” said History Colorado Center project manager Bill Mosher, principal and area director for Trammell Crow. “We built a durable and sustainable project that will serve generations of people interested in learning about Colorado’s past. We are honored to have had a role in this project.”

Designed by Tryba Architects, the History Colorado Center is the newest state building built to LEED-Gold standards. Tryba Architects specializes in highly visible public architecture and has designed new museums and expanded existing ones, as well as completed other prominent civic and historic buildings. Principal David Tryba said that museums are “community anchor institutions” and among the most trusted institutions in the country.