CSU Opens Initial Building in First-of-its-Kind Free, Public Campus

Learning about surgery by watching. Photo Complements of CSU Spur
CSU Spur Logo

New Denver campus – CSU Spur – offers education and services year-round

On January 7, the Colorado State University System opened CSU Spur, a year-round and first-of-its-kind public destination in Denver, called CSU Spur, located at the National Western Center. The first facility to open at CSU Spur is called the Vida building, which translates to “life” in Spanish, and focuses on animal and human health.

CSU Spur is made up of three buildings that are open to the public and offer grade-level aligned experiential education and a chance for people to watch professionals at work–in Vida, visitors will be able to watch veterinarians perform surgery on dogs and cats, therapists working with horses to offer equine assisted therapies, and veterinarians helping equine athletes through strength-building and therapeutic exercises. Seven horses currently live on-site at the new Vida building as part of the Temple Grandin Equine Center equine assisted services program.

Visitors can engage with interactive exhibits, demonstrations, evaluate X-Rays and animal health in a mock veterinary clinic and explore animal anatomy through virtual reality. Daily demonstrations, educational programs, and events can be found year-round at csuspur.org/events.

“We’re proud to open this new campus up to everyone with an interest in learning and discovering more about our world, our health, the food we eat, and the water that sustains. Spur belongs to all of Colorado; it’s created through partnerships with people and communities around our state; and there’s no place like it anywhere. We hope everyone feels welcome to come in and check it out,” said Tony Frank, chancellor of the CSU System.

The new campus in Denver brings students closer to seeing themselves in professions connected to food, water, and health – the three topic areas that CSU Spur’s Terra, Hydro, and Vida buildings focus on, respectively.

CSU Spur won’t grant college degrees; instead, it will welcome the public, including K-12 students on field trips, it will foster research collaborations, create spaces for innovation and collaboration, and host visitors from around the world. CSU Spur is an innovative, first-of-its-kind take on the mission of public access on which CSU was founded.

“As Colorado’s land-grant institution, CSU is committed to making our world-class teaching, research, and engagement resources accessible to our entire state. That’s why I am so excited about the new CSU Spur campus,” said Joyce McConnell, president of CSU, the flagship university located in Fort Collins.

“Its interactive spaces will give K-12 students a glimpse of the hands-on educational experiences they can find in college, including of course at CSU.  And the unique structure of Spur, with the three themed buildings, focused on health, water, and food offers our researchers, staff, and students an extraordinary stage on which to demonstrate our innovative approach to sustaining both a thriving planet and flourishing humanity.”

The CSU System – made up of CSU, a Carnegie 1 research institution in Fort Collins; CSU Pueblo, a regional serving campus among the most diverse in the state; and CSU Global, a fully online campus serving non-traditional students globally – has worked to bring all three campuses to life within the CSU Spur campus in Denver.

As a destination that is open year-round to the public, CSU Spur will become a place that connects people with important issues, showcases science and research, and excites learners to pursue careers they are passionate about, engage in conversations, and be part of solutions.

“This new campus complements the work that is occurring on the CSU Pueblo campus. Spur introduces young people to the discovery process and new ideas. Once you unlock their curiosity, they begin thinking about what’s possible and how college might help them in their own discovery processes. We are very proud to be a part of creating a new educational ecosystem for the people of Colorado,” said Timothy Mottet, president of CSU Pueblo.

CSU Global, in line with its mission of expanding access to higher education for all, is launching a new digital learning program, CSU Global Direct, that provides pre-health prerequisite courses students need to accelerate their degrees while removing common educational barriers.

“We’re honored to be involved in CSU Spur’s mission to expose young students and families to educational opportunities and inspire careers in health, food, and water,” said CSU Global President Pamela Toney. “At CSU Global, our mission is also about providing educational opportunities, and we are committed to advancing the success of students with a focus on providing accessible and affordable degrees through our online programs. As such, we’re thrilled to play a role in engaging our community to learn more about innovations in these fields and opportunities within the CSU System.”

 Some things to know:

  • CSU Spur is free and open to the public, year-round
  • State-funded project, with university backing – meant to connect students to scientists, researchers, and careers in food, water, and health
  • Made for field trips: exhibits, demonstrations, and programs aligning with grade level

What you’ll see at Vida when you come:

  • The first-ever on-view to the public companion pet hospital (the public can watch veterinarians perform surgery on dogs and cats) – Dumb Friends League Veterinary Hospital will provide low-cost services to the community
  • Mock Vet Clinic for kids! Kids can become a Veterinarian – put on a lab coat, bandage up stuffed animals, etc.
  • Horses living on-site! Seven horses currently live at CSU Spur as part of the Temple Grandin Equine Center, which will provide equine-assisted services to the community (7500 appointments/year to the public)
  • Horses walking on underwater treadmills! And lots of other cool rehabilitation activities
  • Exhibits and demos all the time – see something new everything you visit CSU Spur!

With everything at CSU Spur, the public can see all of these things happen, so there are tons of great visuals with this building for opening media and ongoing stories. The idea is to inspire kids and the public and connect to careers – we want kids to know they can be anything they want and to think about different career paths!

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