UCCS opens new downtown campus to better connect students with the community

UCCS Downtown at an angle

Debbie Kelley, The Gazette
The otherwise nondescript Alamo Annex at 102 S. Tejon St. on Monday became UCCS Downtown.

That downtown building with half a Porsche hanging from its south wall now has a mountain lion crouching on its east side, too.

The new artwork chasing the old signifies the arrival of the first satellite campus for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The otherwise nondescript Alamo Annex at 102 S. Tejon St. on Monday became UCCS Downtown, heralding what officials say is an important addition to the renaissance in the city’s core.

Having UCCS downtown “brings us together — business, government, nonprofits, education and the community as a whole,” Mayor John Suthers said during a ceremony that preceded an open house.

The “small but mighty” milestone brings “a level of vibrancy” downtown, UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy told business leaders, elected officials and education chiefs gathered in front of the building.

With academic courses, public lectures and seminars, alumni gatherings and other events to be held in the space, employees can continue professional growth, and employers can further develop their workforce, Reddy said.

As a UCCS graduate and downtown professional, Katy Hartshorn said, she’s excited to check out the certificate programs to be offered literally next door to her office at the Downtown Partnership.

“I’m thrilled we’ll have this resource to support the many young professionals in our community,” Hartshorn said.

UCCS students often don’t feel that they’re part of a college town, senior Layhat Gozeh said. But the downtown campus will help change that, as Colorado College and Pikes Peak Community College also have campuses near downtown.

“UCCS students will be able to see the real world and what a thriving city this is and be a part of it,” said Gozeh, a sociology major.

The idea developed after UCCS Regional Connect, which works to create public-private partnerships, asked...