Part 1: DU Prepares to Open Its New Community Commons
Next month, a major component of the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan will be complete and accessible to the public. When the University of Denver opens the doors on its new Community Commons, it will invigorate the traditional student experience by transforming the way our community interacts and by reimagining the way space is used on campus.
Located in the heart of campus, the 132,000-square-foot building sits on the footprint of what was the Driscoll Student Center’s north side. The four-story commons will house spaces for events, programming, student organizations and collaborative opportunities, as well as a central dining hall to bring people together for meals and conversation.
Ahead of the opening, the DU Newsroom will publish a four-part preview of what students, faculty and staff can expect in the new year. This first feature begins at the top — the fourth floor of the Community Commons.
The Community Commons features many different ways to enjoy Colorado’s 300-plus days of sunshine and Denver’s spectacular views. The best of these opportunities is presented on the fourth floor. Most of the space on this level is completely outdoors and undoubtedly will provide the best place on campus to catch a sunset.
When visitors arrive at the top level, they enter a small, glass-enclosed room that opens to a patio overlooking Campus Green and the nearby Ricketson Law Building. The patio wraps around to the north, offering striking panorams of the Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness. From there, the eye travels west, passing over the new Dimond Family Residential Village, to where the Rocky Mountains loom. This spacious patio offers architectural and landscape eye candy in every direction.
A few items will be immediately apparent to anyone who comes to enjoy this space: There is plenty of room for everyone to sit and relax. Students will be happy to know that they will never be more than a few feet away from a power outlet or USB port to plug in cell phones and laptops. In addition, there are speakers everywhere. These can be controlled via Bluetooth to allow everyone to enjoy their favorite music. This amenity was incorporated in the interest of encouraging everyone to come, connect and enjoy the company of others.
Beyond the views and ambiance, the roof and patio are unlike any of their counterparts on the DU campus. While most campus buildings are bedecked in solar panels, the Community Commons will boast a green roof in keeping with Denver’s 2017 green building ordinance. The ordinance requires that all new buildings larger than 25,000 square feet include a cool roof (one that reflects the sun) and follow one of several options for green building compliance. One such option allows for vegetation on the roof.
The Community Commons will be one of the first new buildings in Denver to have a green roof as a result of the city ordinance. Roughly 30% of the roof will be planted with grass and will be maintained by the University’s grounds crew. The goal is to study the roof’s impact and assess its effectiveness in Colorado’s arid climate.
Next week the DU Newsroom will explore the third floor of the new Community Commons and how it will bring undergraduate and graduate students together.