Recap: CSU Spur Hydro Walking Tour

About the Tour: The tour started in the Hydro lobby so visitors could see the various event spaces provided in the facility, including the café run by Western Daughters, the Teaching Lab, the 300-person flex event theater, and the High Bay water lab. The group climbed the 3-story spiral stair or take the elevator to the second level to look at the Hydro classrooms, popular sand table, and outside terrace for an overview of the backyard design. The Tour then extended to the third level with views into the Denver Water’s Water Quality Laboratory. The group then ventured across the bridge into the Terra building and back down to grade for a walk of the Hydro backyard, which in the summer, showcases One Water strategies in the site like an above-ground rainwater storage tank, bioswale, and hand pump that simulates water flow over the Continental Divide. For those interested, a quick look into the renovated McConnell Welders building was added, but only the first level is open to the public.

About the Building: The Hydro building at the Colorado National Western Center is a hub for water education and conservation, strategically positioned between the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods and Downtown Denver. It’s one of three key buildings on the CSU Spur campus and is dedicated to promoting water literacy. The building is designed for energy efficiency, harnessing the campus’s waste-water heat recovery system. Its LEED Platinum certification target underscores its commitment to sustainability.

The unique design, inspired by a river eddy, offers interactive exhibits and connections to the outdoors to educate visitors about water’s importance. As an anchor tenant on the National Western Center campus, the Hydro building contributes significantly to the campus’s net-zero energy goal and provides free research and education opportunities for the public.

About the tour guides: Jennifer Cordes leads the Higher Education Design Studio for Hord Coplan Macht architects.  She is a Colorado native and has her undergraduate degree in economics and a Master’s in architecture from the University of Colorado.  With over 27-years of experience, Jennifer provides design leadership for some of HCM’s most complex projects and specializes in science & technology facilities.  She has worked with CSU for over a decade on their Fort Collins campus and now the Denver campus too.

Heather Morehead is a senior associate at HCM with over 12 years’ experience, working primarily in the higher education sector. Heather led the HCM construction administration of the Hydro building spending over 3,000 hours in on the construction of this building.

Robyn Bartling is a Principal at HCM and leads the Denver Landscape Architecture team. Robyn was the brainchild for the barkyard landscape concept to incorporate the Colorado watersheds. It is a beautiful example of a outdoor learning garden.