Updated Jan 13, 2023 - News

CSU Spur campus is complete at Denver's National Western Center

The new Hydro building at Colorado State University's Spur Campus at the National Western Center. Photo: Courtesy of CSU

Colorado State University's satellite campus, CSU Spur at the National Western Center, is officially complete just in time for Denver's annual stock show.

Why it matters: The "first-of-its-kind" facility, which is free and open to the public year-round, provides a space to support scientists and inspire the next generation of problem-solvers in the water, agriculture and health industries.

Driving the news: Hydro — the last of the CSU Spur development's three new buildings — opened its doors last week.

  • As the name implies, the facility focuses on water, with hands-on exhibits and a Denver Water testing and treatment lab.
  • The building also houses a theater for performances, as well as a café run by Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, which sells locally sourced and sustainably raised meat products.
  • Hydro also boasts a green roof to explore how solar panels can facilitate urban agriculture efforts, plus an outdoor space dubbed "The Backyard," where storm water is collected for vegetation and where visitors can enjoy the outdoors.

What they're saying: "Hydro provides an opportunity to expand the conversation around water challenges, not only here in the American West, but around the world," Jocelyn Hittle, associate vice chancellor of CSU Spur, said in a statement.

  • “[W]e will create a community that connects creative minds in policy, research, education, and innovation, in pursuit of solutions to our water challenges," she added.

The big picture: CSU Spur first opened Vida — focused on animal and human health — in January 2022. Terra, specializing in food and agriculture innovation, debuted last June.

  • All three buildings are part of a reimagination of the National Western Center in north Denver.

Of note: Activities open to visitors daily include:

  • Veterinarians performing surgery on dogs and cats, with opportunities for kids to play "vet" with stuffed animals;
  • Horses walking on underwater treadmills for conditioning and rehab;
  • Commercial kitchen and food innovation labs working on new products;
  • A water stream table that lets people explore and play with water diversion;
  • Virtual reality experiences.
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