Metro’s Student Success building is just days away from the big move.
More than 230 full-time employees and 25 different departments scattered across all ends of Auraria and Writer’s Square are gearing up for the mass relocation over spring break.
“We’ll play it day-by-day,” Sean Nesbitt, Metro’s Facilities Planning & Space Management director, said. Nesbitt has spearheaded the student-funded, $60 million project since it’s inception four years ago. He is optimistic the massive transfer will run smoothly.
“We got really lucky because of the backfill renovations and things like moving the School of Business and other departments over the last year,” he said. “We learned a lot of lessons and figured out how to make [the move] really efficient.”
Nesbitt said his team is planning to move most departments in four-hour time blocks. They, in conjunction with professional movers, Metro’s Information Technology departments and the work of hundreds of staff members and volunteers will begin moving March 19.
The new building officially opens March 26, but all student aid offices currently operating in the Central building will remain open over spring break and during the move.
“There’s a lot of details involved as far as getting boxes and things like that,” Nesbitt said. “The difficult thing was [working with] 25 departments and trying to coordinate with 25 contacts.”
Metro’s IT department has played a major part in the move. Mike Hart, director of security, networking, asset management and procurement for Metro’s IT, has worked for months purchasing new computers and preparing a small team to move all existing personal computers to the new facility.
“It’s really straightforward, it’s just a very large move for just a handful of people to do,” Hart said.
In addition to new computers, the building supports the strongest wireless connection for Metro students anywhere on campus.
“The network improvements are going to be dramatic for a majority of these users,” he said “They should have one hundred percent, fully-saturated wireless coverage throughout the building.”
Other improvements and upgrades include an interactive communication kiosk on the first floor.
“The kiosk will be a touch screen that will have not only information about the campus, but also information about the surrounding Denver area,” said Joan Zurkovich, head of Metro’s administrative IT department said. This includes things like restaurants, emergency auto repair and finding transportation options in the city are available.
“It covers the logistics of being in downtown Denver as a student,” she said. We really worked hard trying to make it easier for commuter students and new students to navigate the campus and city.”
The Student Success building is unique on many levels. Aside from the technology and the futuristic equipment found on every floor, the building is also LEED-gold certified as an energy efficient structure.
The rooftop garden is one example of the building’s green credentials.
The area acts as part of a storm water filtration system. The water drains off the roof and runs into an underground retention system, where it is held for 72 hours and then released into a storm drain.
A private media tour given by Nesbitt March 13 revealed many of the expansive office spaces and student learning and development areas within the building. On the first floor are six numbered stations where the admissions, academic advising, registrar, bursar, cashiering and financial aid offices will be moved.
The offices have digital signs with windows that display helpful information to Metro students, such as deadlines, community affairs and tidbits like where the Health Center is and when it’s open.
The building also includes a 3D, panoramic projection planning room that Metro President Stephen Jordan requested to enhance that status of the building and give back to the community.
“It’s a phenomenal project and one that doesn’t happen on many campuses,” Zurkovich said. “This building has been designed around the students. I came from the University of California and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Author: Megan Mitchell
Megan Mitchell is the managing editor of The Metropolitan. She has worked for the paper since spring 2010 as a reporter, assistant editor, Metrospective editor, and editor-in-chief respectively.