Design-Build Team Breaks Ground on CSU’S Natural Resources Building


Fort Collins, CO — Design-builder Pinkard Construction Company  and 4240 Architecture, has begun construction on CSU’s Michael Smith Natural Resources Building addition.

Located on the main campus, the Michael Smith Natural Resources (MSNR) building addition and renovation adds four stories and approximately 42,800-square-feet of new space to the south of the existing Warner College of Natural Resources building. The project will house flipped classrooms, instructional laboratories, a Student Success Center, an outdoor terrace, offices and meeting/collaboration spaces.

The MSNR building addition centers on the needs of the students, from the large auditorium to the flexible teaching labs to the “treehouse” – a collaboration studio convertible to an outdoor terrace. The facility has been designed to tell the story of natural resources, create a teaching tool for students and faculty, and root the project to the place. Natural materials (stone and wood) and natural elements (sun and wind) are incorporated throughout the student experience with an emphasis on building collaboration, curiosity and community. The addition will serve as the focus of community outreach and student engagement, and will allow the college to grow its reach, enrich education, propel discovery, and increase its impact on the world.

Adjacent to University Avenue, the tight project site is currently undergoing a phased excavation and shoring process in preparation for site utilities and micro-pile construction. The excavation site is a 65-foot by 110-foot area, tightly bordered by the existing Warner College of Natural Resources building, a utility tunnel and an electrical vault. The current work plan includes closing University Avenue to provide for ample crane movement, concrete truck access and materials storage. A new pedestrian transit way has been incorporated on the south side of University Avenue.

Total project budget is estimated at $20.2 million with funding through donations, including a catalyst gift from the College’s namesake, Ed Warner, and a naming gift from natural gas entrepreneur Michael Smith, Student Facility Fees and University Resources.

The original Warner College of Natural Resources building was constructed in 1975, and has had no significant renovation or additions. A space analysis determined that the college, its departments and programs, were operating at a significant deficit for the curriculum, enrollment, faculty numbers and level of research — including a high space shortage of instructional laboratories, laboratory service, classrooms, study space and meeting space. As a result, this project mainly focuses on solutions for the classroom, instructional lab, study, exhibit and lounge/meeting space deficits.

Pinkard and 4240 were awarded the lump sum design-build contract following a lengthy design-build competition that included numerous collaborative design-build workshops with CSU, the college, and its many user groups. The award was based upon a best value proposition that included design aesthetics, add alternates and final price.

Image courtesy of Pinkard Construction Company.

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