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The University of Colorado Denver, long considered a commuter campus, wants to build a residence hall.

University of Colorado Denver wants to build 550-bed residence hall

The $68 million project would be the first on-campus housing on the university's Auraria campus in downtown Denver.

Leaders at the University of Colorado Denver, long known as a commuter school, want to build a residence hall that could house more than 500 students.

The Denver Post reports that the proposed $68 million, 550-bed housing development—which is being pitched as a way to help increase enrollment of international, out-of-state, full-time and undergraduate students—would mark the first time the urban college hub would provide an on-campus home for its learners.

“We still have a number of commuting students, but over time we have gotten more students who are full-time coming from outside of Denver,” says Cary Weatherford, director of CU Denver’s institutional planning. “The housing market in Denver has gotten very expensive, and our students who try and live near the campus are being pushed farther and farther out.”

The residence hall would be built on the 150-acre Auraria Campus in downtown Denver, where a combined 38,000 students attend CU Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver and the Community College of Denver. The only student housing now affiliated with the Auraria Campus is the Campus Village apartment complex and dining hall off-campus near Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

Weatherford says CU Denver, which enrolled 19,558 students last fall, is not trying to become a “traditional residential university” like its larger counterpart in Boulder.

“It’s more about providing an option for our students who want that,” Weatherford says.

The residence hall would stand six to seven stories tall and be built on an existing recreation field adjacent to the Auraria Campus’ Rob and Lola Salazar Student Wellness Center. Plans call for 550 beds, a dining hall open to all CU Denver students and a “learning commons” with student support and tutoring services.

If the CU Denver housing project gets the OK from university regents, officials expect the facility would be ready for students in fall 2021..

Weatherford says a new CU Denver residence hall would be a benefit not only to students, but to the city as well.

“These students are obviously living somewhere currently, and this housing will help the city of Denver close the gap in affordable housing with this project,” Weatherford says.

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