Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Campus Commons?
The Campus Commons will be a navigation and support hub for students, a showcase for UNC’s world-class arts programs, and a portal that draws visitors and potential partners into the university so we can show them who we are. By bringing these things together in one space, the Commons will foster connections, collaborations and synergies that would not happen in separate spaces.
- Where and when will the Campus Commons be built?
The Commons will be located just south of the University Center. We will break ground in the fall of 2016, and our goal is to complete construction by the end of 2018.
- Why is UNC building the Campus Commons?
The Campus Commons has three goals: (1) Increase the number of students who enroll and succeed at UNC; (2) Address the basic curricular needs of students in performing and visual arts, business, nutrition and hospitality; and (3) Create a welcoming and accessible point of connection between UNC and the broader community.
- Why does the Campus Commons require a new building?
Current facilities are inadequate, and UNC does not have a building that could be repurposed to function as the Campus Commons will function. Our student support services are now spread across campus, and students must determine what type of assistance they should seek, so complex issues often send students back and forth among multiple offices. Practice and performance spaces now available for arts students do not reflect the academic quality of our world-renowned programs, and they place UNC and our graduates at a competitive disadvantage. We currently do not offer campus visitors a gateway building where they can access information about the university.
Building Functions and Occupants
- What functions will be housed in the Campus Commons?
The Commons will be home to a re-imagined student support operation that integrates a number of now-separate functions. Even though the Commons will become the go-to place for student support, not everyone involved in student services will be located there. Front-line staff will be trained to help students with a wide range of issues. For example, by talking with just one person, a student could get career planning information, learn about opportunities to work with faculty on research, make a tutoring appointment, and get a financial aid question answered.
In addition to the integrated student support center, the Commons will be home base for admissions counselors, campus tours, new student orientation, study abroad programs, international student support, career services, community and civic engagement, and alumni relations. In addition, it will have a 600-seat performance venue designed to address critical curricular needs of our music program. There will also be an art gallery to showcase student work and travelling professional exhibits, a 400-seat multiuse auditorium, a student-run café, ticket office and interactive displays for visitors.
- Who will move to the Campus Commons?
The following functions will move to the Campus Commons:
- Career Services
- International student support
- Office of Engagement
- New Student Orientation
- Admissions counselors
- Visitors Center
- Alumni Relations
- The main ticketing office
- Will UNC’s Cultural Centers move to the Campus Commons?
No, the Cultural Centers will remain in their current homes.
Development and Construction
- How is the UNC community involved in developing the Campus Commons?
The process has four steps:
- Concept development
- Securing state capital funding
- Detailed building planning and construction
- Functional implementation
Beginning in early 2014, a steering committee of students, faculty, and staff members assisted with collecting campus feedback and translating the ideas into the conceptual plan that was necessary to request state funding. In the summer of 2015, the state of Colorado committed $23 million toward the first phase of the Campus Commons, and an additional $15 million for the Commons is currently on the Capital Development Committee’s list of projects recommended to be funded in 2016. The Campus Commons Engagement Committee, convened in Fall 2015, is now facilitating campus engagement in planning and construction.
- What decisions were made in the program plan development process?
In 2014, a steering committee of students, faculty, and staff guided the development of a conceptual Program Plan for the Campus Commons. During that process, we made the following decisions, which are now guiding the design of the building:
- The basic functions that will be housed in the Commons are identified in the Program Plan and will not change during the design process.
- The Program Plan development process examined multiple locations for the Campus Commons, and the building site identified in the Program Plan will not change.
- The project will seek LEED Gold Certification for sustainable design.
- The project will be constructed in two phases, with the components of each phase as noted below.
- What decisions will be made in the building design process?
The design process began by verifying that the Program Plan accurately reflected how we intend to use the space in the Commons. To facilitate this verification process, the architects met with building occupants in Fall 2015.
We are now working with the architects to develop a schematic design that focuses on adjacencies, room shapes and configurations. This stage addresses building organization and layout, vertical connections, site layout, building systems, preliminary building materials and connectivity to the University Center.
After the schematic design is complete, detailed construction documents will be developed to address things like the location of doors, windows and electrical outlets, and building materials and finishes.
- Why is the Campus Commons being built in phases, and what is in each phase?
The Commons was designed as two phases to improve the likelihood of receiving state funding.
- 600-seat performance venue and support spaces
- 400-seat multiuse auditorium
- Ticket office
- Primary mechanical systems
- Integrated support services for students
- Academic case management
- Study abroad and international student support
- Career services
- Community and civic engagement
- Welcome center
- Admissions counselors
- Campus tours
- New student orientation
- Alumni relations
- Art gallery
- Will the Campus Commons be a sustainably built facility?
The Campus Commons will be designed and built to meet LEED Gold standards.
Cost and Funding
- How much will the Campus Commons cost and how will it be funded?
The Campus Commons will cost $73.6 million and will be funded through three sources: state capital funds, bonds supported by a student capital fee, and private donor gifts.
All public universities in Colorado have a student capital fee to help support the construction and maintenance of capital projects. The capital fee that will help build the Campus Commons is being phased in over five years. Fee funding of $160 per year (for a full-time student) is needed to build the Commons.
The remainder of the capital fee is for the maintenance and repair of UNC’s existing facilities and to continue paying off other fee-funded buildings such the Rec Center. Examples of recent maintenance and repair projects funded with the capital fee include: University Center roof replacement; sidewalk repairs; Gray Hall gymnasium conversion to performance space, Brown, Dickeson and Lujan Hall roof replacements; Campus Recreation Center locker room renovation; fire alarms in Kepner; Ross Hall research and lab space improvements.
- Will UNC’s capital fee continue after the Campus Commons is built?
Yes, the fee is designed to allow UNC to pay off the full cost of building the Campus Commons over approximately 30 years. In addition, we must continue to repair and maintain existing buildings.
- Why not fund maintenance of existing buildings instead of a new building?
A significant portion of the funding for the Commons comes from restricted sources. The state funds received for Phase I and requested for Phase II of the Commons come from a restricted source; in other words, the state limits how the funds are used. The Commons was viewed favorably during the request process because it aligns with the state’s required use as well as its larger higher education priorities. Receiving funding for the Commons does not prevent UNC from requesting state support for existing facilities; we will continue to seek state support for existing building maintenance needs through the state’s controlled maintenance process. Donor investment is always restricted to the donor’s intended use; therefore donor funding provided in support of Campus Commons can only be used for that purpose.
- What will happen if the state does not award funding to the Campus Commons?
UNC is committed to building a facility that houses an integrated student support operation and provides appropriate facilities for our arts students. The state has already committed to funding for Phase 1 of the Commons. The Commons is classified as a continuation project for the next cycle of state budget deliberations, which put it in a favorable position to be funded. However, if Phase 2 is not funded, UNC will work on an alternate funding plan.
Effect on Other Buildings and Areas
- How will the Campus Commons affect the University Center?
The Commons will sit just to the south of the University Center and is designed to work in tandem with UC operations. The arrangement and proximity of the Commons event space to the University Center ballrooms will create a shared events plaza between the buildings; the meeting spaces in the Commons will also create opportunities for UNC to host additional events and conferences.
- How will the Campus Commons affect parking?
The Commons will displace parking spaces currently located south of the University Center, but the parking lot south of 23rd street will remain to support student, employee and guest parking. Additional parking is available in the McKee Hall lot, which is close by. Following the construction of the Campus Commons, parking needs will be continually monitored and supplemented as needed.
- What will happen to space vacated by staff who move to the Campus Commons?
In 2016, a transparent process will be developed to determine how to use space that will be vacated by functions moving into the Commons.
- How will the Campus Commons affect Greeley’s Creative District?
UNC is committed to its partnership and relationship with Greeley. As the front face of UNC, the Campus Commons will sit at the south edge of Greeley’s University and Creative Districts, providing a bookend to complement the UCCC, Downtown Greeley and the many thriving businesses, galleries and neighborhoods in between. The Campus Commons is a logical addition to Greeley’s existing investment in economic development and growth, aiding in our collective efforts to position our city and campus as a preferred destination.
How to Be Involved
- Where can I find more information about the Campus Commons?More information is available on the Campus Commons website.
- How was input provided during the design phase of Campus Commons
The Campus Commons Engagement Committee facilitated a number of activities to collect feedback during Spring 2016. This consisted primarily of student focus groups, an online survey, and "graffiti boards” placed around campus. A summary of the committee’s report is available online.