Plans Move Forward for State-of-the-Art Engineering, Design and Computing Building

CU Denver is moving forward with plans for a new engineering, design and computing building that will house part of the College of Engineering, Design and Computing and interdisciplinary computing initiatives and serve as the anchor for its open innovation district. As outlined in the university’s visionary 2030 strategic plan, goal four marks the creation of an open innovation district that will cultivate new technology, partnerships and programming, diverse talent, and in-demand jobs, all in one hub located in the heart of downtown Denver.

Engineering building plan rendering, 2021

"As Colorado’s only public urban research university and as the nation’s first equity-serving institution, CU Denver and its open innovation district will catalyze economic growth, spark new companies, commercialize research, cultivate the workforce of the future, and drive social impact.” 

– CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks 

Where We Are in the Process

On Nov. 1, the university issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to find a design partner to assist in providing guidance on programming, architectural, engineering, and other consulting services for the new engineering, design and computing building. Over the coming weeks, CU Denver will establish a design selection committee composed of CU Denver cabinet members, staff and faculty, city officials, business leaders, and community members, who will be charged with reviewing RFQ submissions. Those working closely on the project anticipate construction on the building to begin late 2022 and complete in academic year 2024-2025, although that timeline is subject to change.

“To maintain a competitive edge within the state of Colorado and against other global cities vying for investment, corporate expansion, and population growth, Denver needs to continue to enhance its economic resiliency and quality of life. By investing in the city of Denver, CU Denver is investing in an engine of the economy, culture, and society.”

– Martin Dunn, Interim Chief Research Officer and Dean of the College of Engineering, Design and Computing

The Rise of the “Innovation District”

One of roughly 100 innovation districts across the globe, Denver joins forward-thinking cities dedicated to bringing together entrepreneurs, educational institutions, tech start-ups, medical advancements, and mixed-use development in one people-centric hub. To date, innovation districts have had an impact on dozens of cities across the U.S., including Boston, Philadelphia, and Cambridge. 

Prioritizing place-making and sustainable, mixed-use development, CU Denver’s innovation district will architect blended spaces that encourage creative thinking, nurture living laboratories, power the future of discovery, and advance equity in computing. 

As the anchor of the innovation district, the new engineering, design and computing building will sit at the intersection of Speer Boulevard and Larimer Street, establishing a strong visual connection to the CU Denver neighborhood, Denver’s historic business, retail, and cultural center, including the iconic Larimer Square and the city’s theater district, and lower downtown (LoDo).  

“Innovation districts are leading-edge developments that bring together key partners around economic, physical, research, and networking assets while creating active, vibrant places that attract people. The entrepreneurial ecosystem sparks new companies, creates jobs, and nurtures the creative economy.”

– Anthony Graves, Managing Director of Partnerships and Innovation

Engineering and Interdisciplinary Computing Initiatives Will Address CO’s Growing Need for Diverse Tech Talent Pipeline

Data show that jobs in computing and related technologies are among the fastest growing, with an additional 9 million positions expected between 2021 and 2022. In the Denver metro region alone, nearly 10% of the 1.4 million jobs are in STEM fields, with growth expected across numerous sectors, from healthcare to banking and everything in between. 

At the campus level, the industry demand for CU Denver graduates, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of the university’s curriculum and alignment with employer needs, shows in numbers:  

  • In just two years, programs in computing-related degrees in both engineering and business have grown 50% – 300%.
  • In less than two years, a new computing BA degree program jumped from 0 to well over 200 students.  
  • Our College of Engineering, Design and Computing welcomed a record number of students—and its most diverse class ever—for the fall 2021 semester and has grown by nearly 50% over the last four years. 

An additional

9 million

jobs in computing and related technologies expected between 2021 and 2022

In the Denver area

nearly 10%

of the 1.4 million jobs are in STEM fields

In last two years

50% – 300%

growth in computing-related degrees at CU Denver

Learn More

For questions and updates on the engineering, design and computing building project, contact strategicplanning@ucdenver.edu.

To connect, invest, and partner, contact Anthony E. Graves, Managing Director of Partnerships and Innovation, at anthony.graves@ucdenver.edu.