Saunders Completes DU Community Commons Project


Saunders Construction and the University of Denver (DU), recently completed the DU Community Commons. A major component of the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan, the Community Commons aims to improve the student experience by providing a space that reimagines community connection.

Community Commons interior

Located at the heart of the DU campus, the 132,000-square-foot Community Commons building houses spaces for events, programming, dining, student organizations and support services. Designed by Anderson Mason Dale, in association with Moore Ruble Yudell Architects, the building presents opportunities for students, faculty and staff to encounter each other, form connections and cultivate relationships.

“The University of Denver Community Commons project provides phenomenal spaces for the DU community to interact. The building architecture is unique and the interior design will draw people into the building. Saunders is proud to have been part of this unique and complex project for the campus and carrying on our relationship with DU,” said Thomas Alford, senior vice president of Saunders.

Like its partner project, the Dimond Family Residential Village, the Community Commons project was possible due to the generous gifts of donors, including Saunders’ founder, Richard C. Saunders, who donated $1.5 million to the project. Construction on the $64 million project started in March 2018. The four-story project includes the campus’ central dining room, which is made up of nine different micro-restaurants providing students a variety of dining options. The building’s 700-person capacity ensures there’s a space for anyone to connect with peers and faculty, including an undergraduate and graduate student lounge, separated by a large exterior balcony.

The Community Commons also houses the campus’ only dedicated faculty lounge. A large event space, the Grand Forum is located on the first floor. The fourth floor is nearly all outdoors and captures the beauty of the surrounding campus — offering a rooftop oasis for student gatherings. The exterior is clad with cooper, glass and brick, making this building a stand-out feature on campus.

The Community Commons includes a green roof, with approximately 30 percent of the roof planted with grass. The Driscoll Bridge, which was closed during construction, has officially re-opened with access to the second floor of the Community Commons. This popular campus crossing over Evans Avenue accommodated 4,000 crossings prior to construction.

Saunders worked hand-in-hand with DU to develop a diverse business program for the project. The project achieved 20 percent minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, as well as small businesses participation.

Photos courtesy of University of Denver

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