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Part 4: DU Prepares to Open Its Community Commons

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Jon Stone

Media Relations Manager

Jon Stone

News  •

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 final feature looks at the first floor of the new Community Commons.


Grand Forum

Serving as the main artery that runs through the entire first floor, the Richard C. Saunders Canyon is the connecting space and entry point into the Community Commons. The space is named for Dick Saunders, a 1963 graduate of the Daniels College of Business. Saunders is the founder of Saunders Construction, the company that built the facility.

On the east end of the first floor is the Grand Forum, a communal space that can host large events or serve as the grand entry and social hangout for the community. Partitions on both ends of the space make it possible to increase the size of the room to accommodate more than 300 people. When the added space is not needed, the partitions can be closed to maintain three separate lounge areas, one of which includes an indoor/outdoor fireplace.

Outside the Grand Forum and adjacent to the Campus Green is the east patio, a courtyard that will be one of the main entrances to the building and also an outdoor event space.


The first floor will offer two options for food and drink. The choices span the gamut from acai bowls to lattes. For example, rollin’ n bowlin’ will provide healthy smoothies, bowls and toasts, while those requiring a jolt of caffeine, can place an order with the Starbucks coffee shop. Both locations will provide new employment opportunities for students.

The multipurpose Gallery across from Starbucks will serve both as a café-inspired event space and a lounge. Student-, faculty-, staff-, and community-led art installations will rotate in the space year-round.

The first floor will also be home to additional staff and student-staff suites and offices. The intercultural suite will have dedicated space for representatives from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Cultural Center, the English Language Center, Health Promotion, a nutritionist from Sodexo, and many more. Showcasing DU’s commitment to the public good, the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship & Learning (CCESL) and the Office of Sustainability will also have their suites located on the first floor.

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