The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs is underway with work on its new $60-million Ent Center for the Arts. Groundbreaking for the 92,000-sq-ft visual and performing arts center—named for the Ent Federal Credit Union, which has a longstanding partnership with the university—took place on August 13. Completion is scheduled for early 2018.

Rendering courtesy of Semple Brown Design
The Ent Center for the Arts will include multiple venues for music, drama and dance.

As one of the first of several major buildings to be located on the university’s North Campus, the center will unify the Dept. of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), currently spread across six locations on the campus. The center will encourage working relationships with cultural organizations in the community.

The Ent Center for the Arts will include the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre and the Osborne Studio Theatre, with supporting space for the UCCS music program, the theater and dance program, Theatreworks, a 250-seat 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.

“Our commitment to the UCCS’s Visual and Performing Arts Department has been unwavering for many years, so we are thrilled to have this opportunity to help further the university’s vision,” said Chris Wineman, principal with Semple Brown Design, the architect of record. “This new facility will make a timeless mark on this growing campus.”

Other project team members include New York City-based H3 Hardy Collaborative (design architect); San Francisco-based Auerbach Pollock Friedlander (theater consultant); Norwalk, Conn.-based Jaffe Holden (acoustical consultant); Lakewood-based Martin/Martin (structural engineer); Wheat Ridge-based M-E Engineers (MEP engineer); Colorado Springs-based Tapis Associates (landscape architect); Wilson & Co. (civil engineer); Denver-based Group14 (sustainability consultant); and Washington, D.C.-based George Sexton Design (lighting design).

The construction manager and general contractor is Denver’s  J.E. Dunn Construction. The general contractor overseeing design-build of the  infrastructure improvements is Colorado Springs-based Bryan Construction.

“As UCCS celebrates its 50th birthday, we will begin construction of a new, vibrant hub for the arts in southern Colorado,” said UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak. “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.”

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 private donors have provided $10 million.

The project will be built in multiple phases as enrollment grows and more funding becomes available.