By Arielle Gordon | Photo by Patil Khakhamian
Despite the closure of campus and the switch to distance learning, Colorado College isn’t totally empty. Construction has been deemed an essential business, and work on Robson Area is ongoing.
The project is still on schedule for completion by July or August 2021. A few days were lost to snowstorms, but work was made up on Saturdays. The site is large enough that crews can work while observing social distancing requirements and meetings are held in smaller groups, with workers appropriately spaced out.
“The masons started Monday and we’re already over 12 feet vertical on the southeast stairwell,” senior project manager Rick Greene said. “This coming Friday, or possibly next Monday, we’re going to start setting steel columns. You’re going to see this place going vertical, within the next three weeks it’s going to look way different.”
A large crane was installed on the site on May 1, another sign that the construction is making significant progress. Greene estimates that by September the structure will be about 80 feet high, and work on the inside of the building will begin.
A drone is flown most days to document progress, and there are plans for a camera to be placed on the Spencer Center in the coming weeks to provide a live feed for people to watch the construction online.
The project also includes building a campus support building that will be attached to the arena, and a new parking garage.
“We started digging the footings for the campus support building last week, and concrete work will start this week,” Greene said. “And then the parking garage will come after we get those footings done, so I’m saying we’re a month and a half away.”
On April 27, Director of Athletics, Lesley Irvine, and head hockey coach, Mike Haviland, donned helmets, vests, and masks to lay some of the first blocks for the building.
Prior to that, the official groundbreaking ceremony was held on the site on February 15. Ed Robson ’54, for whom the arena is named, attended the ceremony along with Irvine, Haviland, President Jill Tiefenthaler, and members of the CC hockey team.
“My favorite moment from the ceremony was when Robson was speaking up at the podium,” Grant Cruikshank ’22 said. “He’s the main reason that this is possible, and he’s a super funny guy too. We all shared some laughs and I’m sure it was great for people to put a face to the man who has given so much to Colorado College.”
All of this progress was made possible last December when the Colorado Springs City Council approved the project. The vote was unanimous in favor of building the arena, which is part of the larger City for Champions initiative in Colorado Springs.
“It’s great that they are still able to make progress and keep working,” Cruikshank said. “I can’t wait ’till it’s finished and we are able to play a game on campus in front of other students, our professors, and our friends.”