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Volume 23 No. 13
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Colorado project puts lofty ambitions within reach

The University of Colorado’s new football training facility and renovations tied to Folsom Field are on track to become one of the greenest projects in college sports when it opens in August.

The $160 million project, led by the design-build team of Populous and Mortenson, could reach LEED Platinum, the highest level of certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s program. As of early June, the LEED checklist tentatively stood at 78 points, with two more points required for Platinum status, said Jeremy Krug, a senior associate at Populous involved with the development. It would stand out as Populous’ first LEED Platinum project of any kind.

Work including this new addition to Folsom Field could lead to LEED Platinum certification.
Photo by: Populous; Mortenson
Project officials won’t know whether they get to LEED’s highest level until after the practice facility is occupied and the operational systems can be monitored.

The project site sits fewer than 60 feet south of Boulder Creek, a waterway that overflowed in September 2013 during a major flood that killed eight people. Because of the devastation, it was critical for the project to manage stormwater runoff and avoid encroaching on the creek area.

For going green, 20 percent of all building materials are recycled content and many items were sourced within 500 miles of Boulder to gain a regional material credit.

At the practice facility, low-flow shower heads and other sustainable features will reduce indoor water use by more than 40 percent compared with buildings of a similar size, with 30 percent energy cost savings over the entire project, Krug said.

The roof of the practice facility has 45,000 square feet of solar roof panels to both reduce and produce energy for that building. Light and plumbing fixtures tied to occupancy sensors will come in handy because student athletes have a tendency to forget to turn off the lights and the water faucet, he said.

“The thing that’s different about a training facility than a campus building is it’s used 24/7 by coaches and players,”

Krug said. “A training facility uses a lot more energy than most people would think. There are high costs and infrastructure for video systems and a lot more locker rooms and showers when you talk about water use. We’re actually seeing a lot more focus [by colleges across the board] on being sustainable, because ultimately, these costs are coming out of athletic funds to pay for building it and to run it in the future.”

All told, the project spans about 350,000 square feet of new construction and renovations to existing buildings. The new indoor practice facility is connected to the Champions Center, an existing building overlooking the stadium on the northeast side. The Champions Center will house new locker rooms, weight rooms, meeting rooms and staff offices, plus a high-performance sports center and a public rehabilitation facility.

The project extends to create several new premium-seat spaces as part of renovating the Dal Ward Athletic Center behind the stadium’s north end zone, a building where the football operations and support facilities are currently housed. The expansion of Dal Ward includes 40 four-seat loge boxes flanking 560 club seats outdoors, supported by a new indoor club behind those seats.

In the Champions Center, the architect designed space for 352 bench seats and 426 bar stools overlooking the field.
Inside that building, the food service for the football team’s training table has been upgraded to a full-service catering kitchen. A new rooftop terrace on the Champions Center can accommodate about 600 patrons with spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.

The sustainability concept extends to the flexibility to use the new premium spaces for special events on non-game
days. Colorado Athletic Director Rick George, with whom Populous has a relationship dating to his tenure as president of the Texas Rangers, had input on the multi-use aspect, Krug said.

“Rick thinks about revenue generation,” he said. “We really stretched the thought process as far as club spaces and the rooftop terrace, and the ability to sell them as event spaces every day during the year. One of the most important recruiting aspects is to … sell the Boulder campus and the University of Colorado.”