Hydro Building at CSU Spur Opens on January 6

Hydro Building, courtesy of CSU Spur.

The CSU Spur campus will soon be complete with the opening of the third and final building, the Hydro building. A public ribbon-cutting and grand opening event will be held on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at 4817 National Western Dr., Denver, 80216.

CSU Spur is a one-of-a-kind campus that opened its first building, Vida, one year ago, launching a new campus that is free and open to the public and extends the reach and mission of the Colorado State University System.

Hydro is designed by Hord Coplan Macht and SmithGroup. JE Dunn is the general contractor.

Hydro is the largest building on the CSU Spur campus, a free educational destination in Denver focused on educating the public and engaging the next generation in the interdisciplinary areas of food, water, and health.

“Hydro provides an opportunity to expand the conversation around water challenges, not only here in the American West, but around the world. In Hydro, we will create a community that connects creative minds in policy, research, education, and innovation, in pursuit of solutions to our water challenges,” said Jocelyn Hittle, associate vice chancellor of CSU Spur. “The facility creates the space and support, but the programs and people that are coming are the most exciting aspect of completing the campus.”

Home to Denver Water’s new Water Quality Laboratory, the building will give people a glimpse into the extensive water testing and treatment of Colorado water. The building will house CSU programs, nonprofit organizations focused on water and water education, and connect visitors to the Western water story through educational exhibits and rotating programming, as well as opportunities to engage with professionals with water-focused careers.

“Denver Water’s new, state-of-the-art water quality laboratory at Hydro ensures we can continue delivering a high-quality and safe drinking water supply to the 1.5 million people we serve across the Denver metro area,” said Denver Water CEO/Manager Jim Lochhead. “Being part of the Spur campus also puts Denver Water in a space where we can better develop solutions to emerging water challenges for our customers and the state, while expanding on our robust youth education program to develop future water leaders.”

An outdoor space – dubbed “The Backyard” – wraps the west-facing side of the building and connects to the nearby open space along the South Platte River. In addition to exhibits and artwork welcoming play, The Backyard’s landscape architecture tells the story of Colorado’s watersheds and its role as a headwaters state.

A structure built in 1930 was purchased and restored to connect to the Hydro building. Called “The Shop” for its numerous past uses, which include an auto mechanic shop and a welders’ workshop, the renovated building will house offices for several non-profit organizations and artist studio spaces that provide the public a glimpse into art creation.

Attractions within the Hydro building:

  • Graywater collection and usage in flushing toilets within the building, in line with water conservation practices
  • A cafe featuring items with produce grown on-site at Spur in the Terra building
  • Art installations, including works by Jason Bruges, Nikki Pike, and Anthony Garcia, Sr. of Globeville’s Birdseed Collective. Installation by Eric Tillinghast coming in 2023.
  • A flexible theater space that can hold up to 230 people
  • Meeting space and indoor and outdoor event spaces
  • PreK-12 educational programs and exhibits
  • Lab space for food and water professionals and entrepreneurs, “on-show” to the public
  • The permanent home for the CSU Masters of Agribusiness and Food Innovation Management; the Ag Innovation Center, and the CSU Spur annual Water in the West Symposium


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