University of Northern Colorado Campus Commons
Owner: University of Northern Colorado
Lead Design Firm: Semple Brown Design
Architect: Handprint Architecture
General Contractor: Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Structural Engineer: Martin/Martin Inc.
Theater Designer: TheatreDNA
MEP Engineer: ME Engineers
Subcontractors: Ambient Energy; Brundage Bone Concrete Pumping; Encore Electric; Front Range Roofing Systems; Glover Masonry; Holsinger Drywall; ISEC Inc.; Restoration Specialists; RMS Cranes; Rolling Plains Construction
The University of Northern Colorado’s Campus Commons is an innovative support center for students, a gateway facility to welcome visitors and a showcase for the university’s highly regarded music and theater programs. It brings together unique elements that support multiple departments and campus services. Work included integrating 24,000 sq ft of office space and conference rooms; a 676-seat performance venue; a 400-seat multipurpose auditorium; rehearsal spaces; a light-filled, open lobby; art gallery; and a student-run café supported by a full-catering kitchen.
The new structure was built next to UNC’s existing University Center, tying it into the current campus infrastructure. Construction took place near the University Center’s ballrooms, which are active event spaces and an integral part of the campus environment. The team worked hard to maintain a safe level of egress for these spaces while raising the existing grade by 3 ft and placing concrete for a patio.
The campus now has a functional and impressive space for large-scale admission events, including more than 10,000 prospective student visits. The new facility is also a central point and resource center for the 13,000 students and 800 faculty who call UNC home. The theater and support areas are a dramatic reflection of UNC’s vibrant performing arts and visual arts programs. Complex rigging, lighting, controls, acoustics, fly gallery and custom AV layout offer state-of-the-art performance quality.