The newest building on campus will serve as a centralized gateway to student success and events.

Heading north on 11th Avenue, just as you reach the crosswalk by North Hall, the campus landscape has changed. The new Campus Commons building stands to your right, sharing the hill that bridges west and central campus with the University Center. Even from the outside, the light-filled building shines warmly, welcoming students, the community and visitors to campus.

The building will serve as a hub for students and a showcase for the University of Northern Colorado’s world-class performing and visual arts programs. It exemplifies UNC’s commitment to providing students first-rate academic programs with customized learning opportunities and individual support.

The Campus Commons is all about connections: UNC students can connect with faculty, support services and opportunities; alumni and community members can connect with students as well as campus happenings; and prospective students and their families can connect with the wealth of opportunities that awaits them here. From Bear Central to the performance hall, campus tours and the Pie Café, visitors and students can find almost everything they need in the Commons.

Campus Commons

  • Bear Central

    This is the building’s academic gathering spot. Here, Bears can take care of bills, ask questions and set educational goals. Housing the offices of Financial Aid, student accounts (Bursar) and registration services, students won’t have to trek around campus for information — the offices and services here will connect students with the best tools and information in one area.

    “The ability to have the three essential offices — Bursar, Financial Aid and Registrar — co-located to deliver integrated business services in Bear Central will be a major force in creating a centralized location,” says Marty Somero, director of UNC’s Office of Financial Aid. “This should contribute to a student’s success, ultimately resulting in their graduation.”

  • New Student Orientation

    Helping newly enrolled students become familiar with UNC even before they start their academic career helps set them up for success with a smooth transition. They’re wondering how to sign up for classes, what to expect their first year, how to navigate the financial aid process and what life on campus offers. It can all be a bit overwhelming — and with an average of about 250 students attending each orientation setting, it was shoulder-to-shoulder at times in the University Center. The move to the new building allows plenty of space — with proximity to the University Center — for large and small sessions throughout orientation.

    “From the time they come for orientation, these students will be able to use [the Campus Commons] for their entire career, so it’s nice that we’ll be able to introduce the population into the space,” says Erin Datteri-Saboski, UNC’s director of Orientation.

  • Office of Admissions and Visitors Center 

    This is a building that hums with Bear pride, and for prospective students and visitors, a central gathering spot is welcoming and reassuring. With the Office of Admissions and Visitors Center staff located in the Campus Commons, visitors will get a sense of UNC’s history, academic quality and unique opportunities — and they’ll also have easy access to information and answers. The Campus Commons will allow the Admissions and Visitors Center team to showcase the university and coordinate more than 10,000 campus visits for prospective students and their families.

    Campus tours at the Commons started when the building opened in January, and the facility also houses a presentation room, called the Prosperity Room, presented by the Salazar Foundation, that holds more than 60 people. A multipurpose room nearby can accommodate 400-plus people for larger scale Admissions events, such as Discover UNC.

  • A Showcase for Talent

    One of the most highly anticipated areas of the Campus Commons involves the new 5,900-square-foot-plus, 600-seat performance hall as well as rehearsal rooms and art gallery. The hall allows for an all-inclusive, central space for performing and visual arts, dance and music students to practice and perform as well as a place for the community to come together and celebrate the arts.

    “From a curricular aspect, these are big, complicated classroom spaces, and, just like our chemistry students need lab spaces in order to learn their craft, our students desperately needed performance spaces and gallery spaces that mimic or are exactly like the real-life experiences that they will have in high-quality performance halls as they practice their craft,” says Leo Welch, professor and former dean of UNC’s College of Performing and Visual Arts.

    Heating and cooling are installed beneath the seating, which is better for acoustics and space. The hall’s seating capacity can be increased by about 80 seats by using movable seating wagons that are stored under the front of the seating area and raised on the pit lift. Also, the curtains and walls around the stage can be adjusted to accommodate the wide range of sound and performances in the space.

    The hall’s new Managing Director, Erin Hanke, D.M.A., started at UNC in November 2018 and is planning to bring in exciting, affordable and diverse performances at the new performance hall.

    “The arts provide quality of life for everyone, and that’s our key mission — to share the arts with Greeley and the campus community while keeping prices low and promoting free and student-central events,” she says.

    These new spaces will complement other performance venues on- and off-campus including the Union Colony Civic Center where other PVA performances will be held during the year.

  •  Pie Café 

    Alongside the entertainment aspect of the Commons, visitors and students can indulge in on-the-go pies, pie fries and other sweet and savory foods. UNC Dining Services’ Pie Café opened in Campus Commons in early January and is located on the first floor across from the Ticket Office and next to the performance hall. (For more information, turn to “Last Look,” page 37.)

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