JE Dunn breaks ground on CSU System’s Spur campus in Denver

The first building at Spur is named Vida and will focus on animal and human health.

JE Dunn broke ground this month Colorado State University System’s new Denver campus. Spur will allow the public to explore and interact with educational content around water, food and health.

Spur combines the expertise of all three CSU System campuses: Fort Collins, Pueblo and global. JE Dunn began on the first of three buildings as part of the future National Western Center, located near the intersection of Interstates 25 and 70.

“The construction of the Vida Building and Spur campus will happen concurrently with many other horizontal and vertical building projects in the area, including the Central 70 Project and horizontal and vertical construction as a part of the greater National Western Center Development,” said Andrew Gilstrap, JE Dunn senior project manager.

The successful execution of the Spur building projects will require a high level of communication and coordination with all stakeholders, he said. “As such, JE Dunn has developed a well-coordinated plan to execute construction on the Vida Building and Spur projects and has been coordinating with numerous stakeholders for some time.”

The first building will focus on animal and human health, leveraging CSU’s world-class veterinary medicine program; hosting the second location of CSU’s Temple Grandin Equine Center, which provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to humans with a range of needs; and partnering with the Dumb Friends League to offer a donor-subsidized clinic for companion animals while providing hands-on education for CSU veterinary students.

Spur’s mission to promote deeper public understanding of the connections between food, water and health is more important than ever, said Tom Vilsack, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Iowa, and an adviser on the Spur project.

“The coronavirus pandemic underscores the importance of understanding connections between food and health. These topics are at the heart of animal health, human health and a vibrant economy,” Vilsack said. “Spur will grow our appreciation for all those involved in our agricultural and food industry and will help develop sustainable systems that can adapt to challenging disruptions.”

In terms of how COVID-19 has impacted the project, Gilstrap said, “JE Dunn is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our employees and trade workers during this unique time. We’ve adapted as needed on our job sites to keep this commitment top of mind and have followed closely the requirements of federal, state and local authorities related to personal protective equipment and social distancing requirements.

“In addition, we’ve implemented a number of strategies to stay safe, including modified break and lunch areas, minimizing meetings, additional handwashing stations and temperature screenings for all individuals coming on site. While no worker is required to report to work if they feel unsafe, we’re thankful to provide work opportunities to skilled trades during this time.”

Once open in 2022, Spur will be a one-of-a-kind offering from a higher education institution – opening its doors year-round to lifelong learners, and facilitating groundbreaking research in areas of global consequence.

As an essential function, the project construction remains on schedule, joining ongoing construction efforts on the site by the city and county of Denver.

CAA ICON is managing the Spur project. The Clark Enersen Partners is the design team for the Vida building.

Published in the May 20-June 2, 2020, issue of CREJ.

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…