By Roxanne Squires
DENVER — The University of Denver (DU) held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 26, beginning the construction on a residence hall designed to house 500 first-year students.
The 130,000-square-foot, five-story building is anticipated to cost $55.5 million and scheduled to open in fall 2020.
According to the university’s website, a key principle of the design is the notion of nested scales of community, focused on the notion of developing a sense of belonging among our students.
The design fosters community with pods of approximately 24 students, a “tree canopy” programming space for a hall of 500 students, and an embracing outdoor gathering space for the entire first year entering class of 1500 students.
This allows co-curricular initiatives to thrive and for meaningful interactions, dialogues, and relationships to be fostered between DU students.
The building is targeting LEED Silver Certification under LEED V4, projected to achieve 27 percent summer peak energy savings over code minimum.
Key sustainability strategies include a stand-alone highly efficient heating/cooling plant, a system of 4-pipe fan coil units for room conditioning and a rooftop photovoltaic panel array for energy production.
The residence hall will also include space for some campus programs alongside the residential units.
The residence hall will be named the Dimond Family Residential Village, following a $5 million gift to the university from the Dimond Family Foundation, the vehicle for the philanthropy of Navin and Rita Dimond, as well as their two daughters. Navin Dimond is the president and CEO of Denver-based hotelier Stonebridge Cos., which he founded in 1991, as reported by the BusinessDen.
The University of Denver requires first- and second-year students to live on campus, but the college stated in a press release that it is seeing higher demand for on-campus housing from upper-level students, and that the new freshmen dorm will create more openings for those students.
Saunders Construction is the general contractor on the project with Anderson Mason Dale Architects and Moore Ruble Yudell as the architecture firms.
The residence hall is one of three new buildings DU plans to open in fall 2020, including the Community Commons, which will features both classrooms and a dining hall, and the Pioneer Career Achievement Center, which will incorporate career planning and alumni offices.
Reports from the BusinessDen and the University of Denver contributed to this story.