Colorado State Programs

University Center for the Arts Grand Opening

Published October 2008

Colorado State University will celebrate the completion of the $45 million University Center for the Arts with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Oct. 16 on the front steps of the new center, 1400 Remington St. in Fort Collins.

Tour of the UCA

(11 images)

The Runyan Rehearsal Hall can be used for classes, rehearsals, intimate concerts and receptions.

There are no right angles in the 32 Student Practice Rooms, creating higher acoustic quality.

The Organ Recital Hall is home of the Casavant Freres Organ.

The University Theatre was designed to created intimacy between actor and audience.

The Studio Theatre is a flexible, experimental space that can seat up to 125 patrons.

The collections at the University Art Museum will be available for viewing free of charge.

The Center for Biomedical Research is leader in the study of music and neurologic funtion.

The University Dance Theatre is built specifically for dance performance.

Special collections in Avenir Museum include dresses by Calvin Klein and Carolina Herrera.

The 550-seat Edna Rizley Griffin Concert Hall is ranked among the top music venues in Colorado.

The Instrumental Rehearsal Hall can accomodate the 240 person CSU Marching Band.

The University Center for the Arts, located in the renovated old Fort Collins High School, is home to Colorado State’s School of the Arts. The grand opening marks the first time in university history in which programs in music, theatre, dance and art will be housed under one roof.

Grand Opening Events

The campus and local communities are invited to attend a free barbecue at noon, complete with the CSU Pep Band playing spirited tunes, followed by the ribbon-cutting ceremony and an open house at University Center for the Arts from 1-3 p.m. A Fort Collins High School alumni “Alma Mater Sing” will be at 1:30 p.m. on the grand staircase landing.

The University Dance Theatre grand opening with performances by the international dance company, Diavolo Dance Theatre on Oct.17 and 18. To purchase tickets, visit Diavolo will also host a 10-day residency at Colorado State. For more information contact Linda Parent at (970) 491-5562.

The Chamber Orchestra and CSU’s choirs will collaborate for a Haydn Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 and 2 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Griffin Concert Hall. To purchase tickets, visit  

Coinciding with the University Center for the Arts grand opening is the return to campus of one of the three Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cans signed by Andy Warhol. The soup can, one of three created in collaboration with Warhol for the opening of the “Warhol at Colorado State University” exhibit in 1981, is being installed in the UCA Sculpture Gardens.

About the facility

The new 225,550-square-foot facility provides five state-of-the-art performance venues: the Griffin Concert Hall, the University Theatre and Studio Theatre in the Bohemian Theatre Complex, the University Dance Theatre and the Organ Recital Hall.

 “The UCA is much more than a great building. It is a comprehensive concept and philosophy of excellence in thought, discovery and knowledge that are physically embodied in a building structure that is truly an all-inclusive art campus.”

- Michael Thaut, co-director of the School of the Arts and chairman of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance

Along with the performance venues, the UCA houses

  • 11 classroom and seminar rooms
  • composition, computer, and piano labs
  • the largest instrumental rehearsal hall in the state
  • ensemble and performance libraries
  • two large acting labs
  • a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) lab
  • costume and scenic shops and storage
  • three dance studios totaling more than 6,500 square feet
  • 36 soundproof rehearsal rooms
  • teaching studios, offices and support spaces.
  • research facilities of the Center for Biomedical Research in Music

The newly renovated facility also includes two museums, the new University Art Museum and the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, newly named with a $1.25 million gift from the Avenir Foundation. Both museums will officially open in April 2009.

About the building project

“A rich understanding of human thought and achievement is essential to higher education and the true independence of the human spirit,”
- Larry Edward Penley, Colorado State University president

The UCA project was completed in three phases that began in 1995 when Fort Collins High School closed its doors and the university purchased the building. Construction on the first phase of the project – the groundbreaking of the 550-seat Edna Rizley Griffin Concert Hall – began in 2003.

The second phase was marked by the start of construction on the $4.7 million Bohemian Complex. The 37,000-square-foot retrofit of the former high school includes the 318-seat University Theatre, 100-seat Studio Theatre and 2,400-square-foot William Runyon Music Hall located in the former high school’s gymnasium. Another 4,500 square feet provided space for production shops, dressing room, green room, audio-visual equipment rooms and other supporting spaces.

The third and final phase completes the University Center for the Arts with the renovations of the majority of the old Fort Collins High School. The new spaces include the University Art Museum, Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, 285-seat Organ Recital Hall and 200-seat University Dance Theatre. The University Dance Theatre has been designed and built specifically for dance performance – the only such venue in Northern Colorado and only one of the few in Colorado.

Funding supported by students and donors

Funding for the building was largely secured through a vote by CSU’s student body government. Associated Students for Colorado State University voted to increase student fees in the spring of 2005, which provided $29.6 million for the project.

“The UCA would not have been completed without the leadership and commitment of our own students. Through their commitment the UCA now ranks among the finest facilities of its kind in the country,” said Larry Edward Penley, Colorado State University president.

The remainder of the funding came from private donations including the Bohemian Foundation, Griffin Foundation, Kenneth and Myra Monfort Founding and the Serimus Foundation.

“We are deeply grateful to these donors and to the students of Colorado State for funding the University Center for the Arts. ” said Ann Gill, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “We now dedicate ourselves to the challenge of taking the arts programs and performances to amazing new heights. Everything we achieve in this new space will be in honor of their investment in our future.”

Resources for media and reporters

Press release

October 14: University Celebrates the Grand Opening of the State-of-the-Art University Center for the Arts

Fact sheets (PDF)

© 2015 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 USA  |  T.O.P.S.