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CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Plant Growth Facilities/University Greenhouse Complex, 1959-

Single story beige building with rust doors and trim. Behind it is a greenhouse with a pitched roof. A sign reads "University Greenhouse".

West Entrance of the University Greenhouse, undated

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 – James M. Hunter and Associates, Architecture Plus, P. C. of Fort Collins

Builders – Hensel Phelps Construction Company, Winandy Greenhouse Construction Company, Reid Burton Construction Company (1968 research greenhouses), Rus-Den Construction Company, Inc.

1241 East Drive

The University Greenhouse complex has been the base for much practical work in horticulture.  In April 1958, James M. Hunter was hired to design the support building for the complex southeast of the new Animal Sciences Building.  The Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Greeley, Colorado built the main building with work beginning in the summer of 1958.  Concrete blocks were used as its primary construction material.  The Winandy Greenhouse Construction Company built the row of four aluminum framed greenhouses from December 1958 until February 1959 at a cost of $71,000.  This complex was considered the latest in greenhouse design.

In the fall of 1968, the Reid Burton Construction Company of Fort Collins built a $61,000 research greenhouse as a fifth but smaller greenhouse to the complex.  1992 and 1993 campus maps indicate that in the summer of 1992, this fifth greenhouse was enlarged to full-size and a smaller sixth greenhouse was added off the east end of the building.  According to directories, the University Greenhouse began being called the Plant Growth Facilities in 1999.  2002 and 2003 campus maps indicate that the sixth greenhouse on the east end of the building was removed in the summer of 2002 and an outdoor natural area was created between the building and the Madison-Macdonald Observatory. 

For many years, on Friday afternoons during the school year, inexpensive plants and flowers could be purchased there.  This complex was built on the site once occupied by the six-sided sheep barn and sheep pens. 

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

Colorado A&M News, October 1946, page 1, vol. 1, number 4.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, November – December 1955, pages 2, 3 and 4, vol. 32, number 3.

Colorado A&M News, December 1955, pages 1-9, vol. 10, number 6.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 30, 1957, page 193.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, September – October 1957, page 4, vol. 34, number 2.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 11, 1957, page 268.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 22, 1958, pages 287-295.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 8, 1958, page 309.

Colorado State University News, June 1958, page 6, vol. 12, number 12.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 12, 1958, page 386.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 17, 1958, page 3, vol. LXVII, number 7.

Colorado State University Collegian, February 3, 1959, page 8, vol. LXVII, number 26.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 24, 1959, page 519.

Colorado State University News, December 1959, page 3, vol. 13, number 12.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 8, 1968, page 591.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 21, 1969, page 112.

CSU Collegian, April 21, 1970, page 1, vol. LXXVIII, number 114.

“A History of Colorado State University 1870 – 1974”, by James E. Hansen II, 1974.

“Democracy’s College in the Centennial State – A History of Colorado State University” by James E. Hansen II, 1977, p. 387.

Campus maps of 1992 and 1993.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 29, 1996, page 1, vol. 104, issue 88.

1999-2000 Directory lists “Plant Growth Facilities”, page 55, 115 University Greenhouse, 2020, J. Thomas Smith, Manager, 491-7140.

2002 Silver Spruce yearbook, page 315.

“Visionary Leadership, the Memoirs of William E. Morgan”, page 95, by Connie Pheiffenberger, 2005.

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