UCCS celebrates progress on Lane Center project

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The Lane Center takes shape east of University Village Colorado.

The Lane Center takes shape east of University Village Colorado.

UCCS officials say that construction of the institution’s new health sciences facility is on schedule and on budget as they prepare to install the last piece of the building’s superstructure.

The Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences, which is the university’s first structure in the North Nevada Avenue urban renewal zone, is on budget at $18.5 million and expected to be completed in January 2014, said UCCS spokesman Tom Hutton.

The last piece of structural steel for the Lane Center should be put into place on July 22, Hutton said, adding that UCCS will host a “topping off” celebration at 8 a.m. to mark the occasion.

During the ceremony, CU Board of Regents members, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Mayor Steve Bach and other representatives are expected to deliver brief remarks and sign the beam before its installation.

“The Lane Center represents a true partnership between the university and the greater Colorado Springs community,” Shockley-Zalabak said in a statement. “We will celebrate the building’s progress to date and the craftsmanship of hundreds of workers who are turning the university’s vision into reality.”

Hutton said that although the construction has reached only 15 percent completion, the event will mark the end of a significant, and injury-free, phase in construction. The building is scheduled for opening in spring 2014.

The 54,000-square-foot structure is part of an eight-building, 575,000-square-foot development plan that UCCS calls its National Sports, Art and Wellness Village. There is not yet a definite timeline for the village complex due to the lack of acquired funding and partnerships.

“While the Lane Center is currently under construction, the timing of progress on developing partnerships will determine when some of these projects are completed,” according to the release.

“According to [Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Martin Wood], the largest factor in the timeline will be coming up with ways to finance the $262 million project.”

Wood described the complex as being made up of three major parts: the Lane Center, a sports complex, and what he referred to as a facility dedicated to “inter-professional sport medicine and sport science,” which was also featured in the city’s 2013 Regional Tourism Act application.

Plans for the UCCS Sports Medicine and Performance Center include a recovery-based rehabilitation anchor clinic, an orthopedic group anchor, flex research space for visiting researchers, as well as faculty, laboratory and teaching facilities. The center also will feature a high-altitude track, training and research facility focusing on disabled athletes.

“The only facility of its kind in the world, the track combines altitude and disabled access,” according to an RTA news release from the city. “Partnerships with for-profit clinics will allow students and faculty to conduct research and fulfill internships, and elite, Paralympic and community athletes, as well as wounded warriors, will access specialized services.”

According to the RTA proposal, the center will cost an estimated $27 million and is among a $59 million U.S. Olympic museum, a $60 million downtown stadium and event center and a $20 million Air Force Academy Gateway at Falcon Stadium Visitor Center.

“UCCS is a real driver of this city’s economic future and I think having them be a part of this proposal really strengthens the [RTA] package,” said Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership.

The Lane Center was named to honor the Lane family. Margot Lane made the initial contribution of $4 million from the John E. and Margaret L. Lane Foundation. The gift was made to both UCCS and Peak Vista in November 2011.

Upon completion, the facility will be home to the Colorado University Aging Center, the Gerontology Center, the Trauma Health and Hazards Center, clinics operated by the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences, as well as the Lane Family Senior Health Center, to be operated by Peak Vista Community Health Centers. The center also will be home to a third- and fourth-year medical campus branch of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

All buildings included in the village project are planned to be LEED Gold certified.