After more than 50 years, the most heavily utilized academic building on the Fort Collins main campus is getting a makeover.
On April 25, CSU and the College of Liberal Arts received news that the state legislature and governor approved $38 million to be spent on an expansion and transformation of the Clark Building, where 99% of students will take at least one class during their academic career, regardless of their major.
Built in 1968, the Clark Building houses nine departments within the College of Liberal Arts (Sociology, History, Anthropology & Geography, Journalism and Media Communication, Political Science, Economics, Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts, International Studies, Languages, Literatures, and Culture) as well as the Department of Psychology in the College of Natural Sciences.
The $38 million is the first installment of what is anticipated to be a three-phase partnership with the state (with yearly approvals from the legislature). The total cost of the transformation is estimated at $120 million to $130 million and will add space to Clark A and Clark C by building “up and out” on the north faces of both buildings, as well as renovating the interior of Clark C, addressing aging infrastructure and creating spaces that foster interdisciplinary collaborations and community.
“The future of education will be represented by a Transformed Clark,” said Benjamin Withers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Students learn and faculty teach differently than 10, 20, 50 years ago. The building will reflect and draw on that newness.”
The revitalized Clark will include new private and shared spaces, the newest technologies in storage and layout for anthropology and history, and spaces for collaborative learning and scholarship.
“The pandemic showed us new ways of teaching and learning – we don’t want to lose those insights,” Withers said. “The building will reflect that and reflect the future.”
In the first phase of the transformation, the College of Liberal Arts will work with Facilities Management on a request for proposals process to determine the architect and builder, then move forward on the schematics and plan, with a goal of breaking ground in late 2023 or summer 2024.
Since 2018, Withers has been working with people across the campus and with the CSU System to prioritize this infrastructure project. “This multi-year project signals the University’s belief in the core mission of the College and will attract future generations of students and faculty,” he said. “I am grateful to a multitude of people, including Bruce Ronda and Alex Bernasek, then-student Anthony Taylor (‘18), Shelly Carroll and Mike Rush in Facilities, and the CSU administration for providing the research, guidance, and support needed to bring Clark to this point.”
Private support will provide an additional $11 million to $12 million.
“We thank Gov. Jared Polis and the members of the state legislature, particularly the Senate and House members of the Capital Construction Committee, who toured Clark in the summer of 2021 and have endorsed and funded our plans for Clark,” Withers said.
“Renovating the Clark Building is an investment by the State of Colorado into the success of future generations of Colorado State students, and that means it’s an investment in the next generation of Colorado’s workforce. We are grateful to Gov. Polis, the Colorado Senate and House, and the Joint Budget Committee, for making this project a priority. We cannot wait to experience the rewards that will come with upgrading our busiest academic building. This renovation is in line with our Courageous Strategic Transformation and will allow us to offer students a high-quality education while intelligently improving our physical space to meet future needs. I know generations of Rams who attended classes in Clark that will smile when they learn of this wonderful news,” said President Joyce McConnell.