DENVER — The National Western Center, a project in which Colorado State University is an integral partner, broke ground Nov. 3 in Denver.
“Today signifies a milestone for the National Western Center, and a furtherance of the unified efforts that have created the vision for this project,” said Amy Parsons, executive vice chancellor of the CSU System, prior to her remarks at the ground-breaking ceremony. “CSU has been working with partners in the community for several years now, and the university is honored to continue our long-term commitment to this area.”
Parsons noted that throughout the next several years the neighboring communities, project partners, civic and government leaders, and nonprofits will work together to build a campus that will be about more than buildings; it will be about discovering solutions to world problems, providing education to anyone who wants to learn, creating entertainment for all ages, and establishing this space in Denver as a global hub for activity around energy, sustainability, agriculture, water, and health.
Following site preparation, CSU’s Water Resources Center, in partnership with Denver Water, will be the first building to be constructed as part of the project, which will cover the 250-acre site near the intersection of interstates 25 and 70.
Swansea resident Ana Campos spoke on behalf of her community and the students in her AP Human Geography class at Bruce Randolph School, who have been learning about the project taking place in their neighborhood and were present at the ceremony.
“I choose to speak in hopes of carrying the message of the voices who haven’t been heard,” said Campos a freshman.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock honored the two-year anniversary of voter approval for Measure 2C, which provides funding for the first two phases of the National Western Center master plan, by thanking Denver voters for supporting the measure.
“Two years ago, Denver residents overwhelmingly said ‘yes’ to the vision of the National Western Center, and today, we begin to realize that vision and deliver on that promise,” Mayor Hancock said. “That vote of confidence, and the phenomenal work of all the campus partners, has led us to this ceremony and the bright future for this campus and this community.”
The National Western Center, when complete, will transform the National Western Complex site into a year-round global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation. The Center’s global reach will also have a powerful local impact by increasing neighborhood access to the South Platte River, adding bike lanes and running trails, and providing jobs and educational opportunities to surrounding neighborhood residents.
“We celebrate the next 100 years of agriculture and the promising future of our western heritage for generations to enjoy,” said Paul Andrews, President & CEO of the National Western Stock Show. “With the completion of the Master Plan and framework agreement for the NW Center, a sustainable business model is in place to strengthen the National Western Stock Show for centuries, to be enjoyed by exhibitors and attendees from all over the world.”
The Framework Agreement signed in September solidifies the responsibilities of each partner. The City and County of Denver is responsible for designing and building phases 1 and 2. By the end of 2017, the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center will complete the program structure to include schedule and other elements associated with all campus construction for phases 1 and 2.
A family-friendly community appreciation celebration took place the evening of Nov. 3, at the Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., Denver, CO 80216. The event was free and open to the public, and included food, entertainment from DJ Javi, and programmatic offerings with hands-on activities from CSU, National Western Stock Show, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and History Colorado.
CSU’s Little Shop of Physics showcased hands-on experiments for the attendees, and CSU Extension brought baby chicks to engage with the crowd. Community members experienced a variety of activities that mirror potential program offerings that are being considered as part of the future National Western Center.
— Tiana Nelson, Colorado State University
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