After an official groundbreaking in January 2019, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus community has watched as a surface parking lot was transformed into a 396,000-square-foot facility to drive the next generation of translational health science research, mental and behavioral health, education and personalized clinical care.
Now, as the Anschutz Health Sciences Building (AHSB) nears its time in the spotlight, here are nine things to know about the new, one-of-a-kind statement piece for CU Anschutz. Hundreds of patients will be visiting this facility each week for clinical services and clinical research study participation.
1. Who will we find in the new building?
Intentionally designed as a collaborative, mixed-use space, the new building has a spacious, seven-story interior atrium, a data center, a large conference center, office and clinical spaces and meeting rooms and labs.
The AHSB officially opened on Dec. 27, 2021, with the first occupants moving in on Jan. 31, 2022. The rest of the AHSB's occupants will move in through early May.
Some entities that will call the AHSB home include:
- The Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM) and its associated research labs
- The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) and its associated research labs
- The Center for Health Artificial Intelligence
- CU Innovations
- Department of Psychiatry and many mental health programs including the Johnson Depression Center
- Campus Health Clinic and Student/Resident Mental Health Services
- The Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) simulation center
- ACCORDS & Data Science to Patient Value (D2V)
- Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity & Diabetes Center (LEAD)
- Clinical Research Pharmacy services
- Data Center
2. What design elements went into construction?
Collaboration and an inviting atmosphere were central to the overall design of the AHSB, while its physical shape was inspired by the mountains and canyons of Colorado with a rocky, angled design. The outside includes only one 90-degree corner and none of the interior floors stack – creating a look where each floor is different from the one below it.
Academic, research, clinical care and other functions are housed together within a dedicated campus research zone, breaking down silos with the large central atrium created to serve as a connection point.
Skylights and 360-degree windows allow for more natural light throughout the building alongside interior foliage and greenery, providing a welcoming environment for big ideas to flourish.
3. How does the new building help our campus stay green?
As the first LEED Version 4.0 Gold Certified facility on campus, the AHSB is the most energy-efficient mixed-use facility on campus, with 60% energy reduction versus existing buildings.
Additionally, construction contractor JE Dunn converted the asphalt from the former parking lot the building now stands on to gravel on the building grounds – which diverted 100% of the waste asphalt from ending up in a landfill.
The Benson Atrium in the AHSB with video wall on the right.
4. The lowdown on food and drink options?
T-Street Kitchen, a full-service, sit-down restaurant, will encompass the southeast corner of the first floor.
Operated by Vibe Concepts, T-Street belongs to a Colorado family-owned local restaurant group with nine other restaurants in metro Denver and several mountain ski towns.
The atrium will also house a coffee and tea bar and grab-and-go eatery. This will open in early April, with the restaurant following in early May.
5. Where did we find those atrium plants?
Over 100 tropical plants from Florida enliven the atrium space. The abundance of south-facing natural light and constant building temperature will help the plantings thrive.
6. What kind of event spaces will be available?
A spacious second-floor conference center named in honor of Chancellor Don Elliman is a highlight of the new facility. At nearly 4,800 square feet, the new Donald M. Elliman Conference Center consists of two connected rooms – capable of seating 326 people in a lecture layout or 168 for a seated event – offering flexible, modern space for a range of functions and activities.
Two other breakout spaces offer nearly 3,000 square feet and accommodate lecture and other smaller group sessions.
The building also has two additional classrooms and various other sized meeting facilities, which will be available through the campus process and EMS system once all occupants have moved into the facility in mid-April.
Events in the central Benson Atrium, named for CU President Emeritus Bruce Benson and his wife, Marcy, can include up to 1,700 people, primarily during evenings and weekends. This offers the first opportunity for larger-scale events at CU Anschutz.
7. A rooftop space with stellar views.
The southwest corner of the seventh floor features a fireplace lounge and outdoor terrace with sweeping views of downtown Denver and the entirety of the Front Range. This space will offer a pleasant gathering, relaxing space for our campus community. Seventh-floor access will be badge limited to employees/students/escorted guests.
View of Denver and the mountains from the seventh-floor balcony.
8. What are some other layout facts?
Five banks of passenger elevators – along with three freight elevators – provide access to the upper floors. Access to the seventh floor of the facility will be badge limited to employees/students/escorted guests.
The building has 46 restrooms, including 28 that are gender-neutral.
Eight lactation spaces are also available. The two on floors one and two are open to the general public and are first-come, first-served. The other six on floors three through seven can be reserved via the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement for staff, faculty and students.
9. A jumbo panorama of possibilities.
Near the main entrance to the AHSB hangs an impressive digital display – a video wall. At 68 feet long and 17 feet tall, the video wall is a sibling to jumbotrons at sports arenas. For comparison, the screen at Avalanche and Nuggets games is 48 feet long and 27 feet high, which is one of the larger scoreboards for an indoor sports arena.
The video wall features 4K high definition visuals with stunning aerial footage of CU Anschutz alongside highlights from the campus marketing campaign Possibilities Endless.
Underneath the screens is the endowed chair wall. It displays all 135 endowed chairs on campus, including donor acknowledgments and the faculty who hold those chairs.