CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

A history of CSU's building and grounds from 1870 to the present.

Durrell Center, 1968-

A one story "Commons" area building with cars parked in front. It is adjoined by two multi-story buildings.

Durrell Center, 1969

From CSU's Sense of Place:  A Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University, by James E. Hansen, Gordon A. Hazard, and Linda M. Meyer.  Fort Collins, CO:  Colorado State University, 2018.

Architects - Edward L. Bunts and Floyd Lamar Kelsey of the Bunts and Kelsey Associates (original), 4240 Architecture, Inc. of Denver (2013 revitalization and T-DEX), REI Structural Engineers (now KL&A, Inc. did 2013 revitalization)

Builder – Weaver Construction Company (original), Mark Young Construction Company, Incorporated (2013 revitalization)

950 West Plum Street

The original building was designed by Architects Edward L. Bunts and Floyd Lamar Kelsey of the Bunts and Kelsey Associates architectural firm. The Durrell Center was named for Dean Lawrence W. Durrell, whose name was also borne by the two outdoor rodeo arenas that once were on campus. This “commons” was built to be the cafeteria, meeting rooms, coffee shop and grill for the 1,012 residents occupying Durward and Westfall Halls.  It opened for use at the start of the fall quarter of 1968.  Formally dedicated on November 9, 1969, it is the activity center of the complex commonly known as “The Towers”.

In May 1972, the State Board of Agriculture approved the sale of beer in the Durrell Coffee Shop, and in November 1972, a 3.2 percent beer license was granted by the City of Fort Collins.  From January 1973 into the 1980s, the lower level featured a 3.2 percent beer bar called the “Mine Shaft”, the “Towers Tap”, and then finally “DC Bottoms”.  The bar struggled financially but continued to sell beer until the minimum legal drinking age for all alcohol was raised to 21 on July 30, 1987. 

In October 1990, a $60,000 accessibility ramp was opened on the south side of the building and other improvements to accessibility were made inside the building as part of the project. In January 1992, DC Bottoms reopened with its new “Circus” décor.

On August 16, 1999, a 1200 pound, 12’ tall bronze sculpture titled “Ram Proud” was installed on the lawn south of Durrell Center.  Local sculptor Dawn Weimer created this impressive work.  Her husband Tom Weimer, ‘66, directed the four-year effort to raise funds and get the project to its completion.  In May 2013, “Ram Proud” was relocated across the street to Moby Arena lawn.  This cleared the area on the south side of Durrell Center to receive a new landscaping design.

In the fall of 2012, Durrell Center was closed for one year to receive a $10.7 million renovation.  This was done to not only modernize the 45-year-old structure but to allow it to serve as the dining center for the residents in the new Laurel Village scheduled to open the fall of 2014.  During the year of construction by the Mark Young Construction Company, a temporary dining facility was constructed on the lawn west of Durrell Center to feed the residents.  It was called T-DEX (Temporary Durrell Express) and it was moved to the north end of the Morgan Library during the summer of 2013, where it was used as a temporary food outlet during the renovation of the Lory Student Center and was used until July 2014.  Originally, it had been planned to move the unit to the Foothills Campus after the Student Center revitalization, but it was demolished in August 2014 instead.

The new Durrell Center design by 4240 Architecture, Inc. incorporated many energy-efficient features with the intent of having the building earn a LEED Gold Commercial Interior certification.  It was redesigned to provide flexible program spaces on the ground floor and a modern dining service area on the top floor to feed the residents of the Towers as well as those who would be living in Laurel Village. The building was complete enough to be used during the 2013 summer conference season and was fully completed and landscaped when the fall semester started on August 22, 2013.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

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“Visionary Leadership, the Memoirs of William E. Morgan”, page 96, by Connie Pheiffenberger, 2005.

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T-DEX Source: Richard “Rick” Potts.

Information from Julia Innis of Facilities Management in September 2016.

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