CSU Spur campus hits another major construction milestone; set to open in 2022

An artists rendering of the stockyards on the Colorado State University Spur campus in Denver. Photo courtesy CSU

DENVER, Colo. — The final steel beam was scheduled to be placed on the second building at the CSU Spur campus on April 20, signaling a major construction milestone for the Colorado State University System project. The moment — called a “topping out” — was captured via livestream.

The Terra building will open several of its spaces in January and is one of three buildings at the CSU Spur campus at the future National Western Center in Denver. The other two will also be completed in 2022: the Vida building in January, and the Hydro building in September 2022. Vida “topped out” in February.

The CSU Spur campus is focused on providing unique education opportunities — a place where K-12 students and families will find inspiration, researchers can collaborate on important issues, professionals will find space for meetings and events, and students from all three CSU System institutions (CSU, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global) can connect with real-life experiences that complement their degree programs.

“This is an exciting milestone for Colorado State University as Spur represents an unprecedented opportunity for us to fulfill our land-grant commitment to Colorado,” said James Pritchett, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. “We look forward to engaging with new audiences and diverse partners across a variety of educational programs and research initiatives.”


The 60,000-square-foot Terra building is focused on food and agriculture and will be home to programs that allow the public to interact with food production and understand where food comes from. Programs housed within the Terra building will promote agricultural literacy and lifelong learning, foster innovation and entrepreneurship, enhance the health and well-being of communities, and advance the sustainability of our urban and rural food systems.

Examples of programs at Terra include:

Cam [the Ram]’s Agriculture Academy, a high-tech experiential learning laboratory delivering hands-on agricultural research experiences for fourth-12th grade students and their teachers.

Cutting-edge urban agriculture research and public demonstration featuring vertical gardening, a green roof and rooftop greenhouses (leafy greens grown will be served in the campus café).

A suite of product development facilities where CSU researchers will support small- to mid-size entrepreneurs in conceiving the next innovations in food. Visitors will have the chance to participate in this process through focus groups and taste testing panels.

A commissary kitchen providing needed facilities for local food businesses.

A soil, water and plant diagnostic laboratory providing universities, government agencies, private companies, and homeowners with quality analysis and consulting, plant pest and disease identification services and pest management education.

Together We Grow, an industry consortium for the food and agriculture sector, focused on building the pipeline of talent that will drive the innovation needed to feed the future, will be headquartered at CSU Spur. Together We Grow’s members represent some of the world’s largest food and agriculture interests, higher education institutions, NGOs, and government organizations, said Kristin Kirkpatrick, executive director of Together We Grow.

“We’re excited to be headquartered at Spur, and part of the partner organizations each focused in some way on elevating engagement around our shared future when it comes to food, water, and health,” Kirkpatrick said. “Engaging with our challenges is the first step in driving innovative solutions.”


The “topping out” — or laying of the final steel beam on the building — is a significant milestone in the construction of the building. Under usual circumstances, it is commemorated with a public celebration and signing of the beam prior to placement.

With the current climate, small groups are being welcomed to the site for tours of the three CSU Spur construction plots.

Anderson Mason Dale Architects designed the CSU Spur Terra building. JE Dunn is the general contractor for the project, and CAA-ICON is the CSU Spur project manager. Art installations at Terra will include works by Jason Bruges, Patrick Marold, and Denver’s Sandra Fettingis.


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