CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Michael Smith Natural Resources Building/Natural Resources Building, 1975-

Two-story light stone building. There are very few windows.

Natural Resources Building, c. 1975

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 – Floyd Lamar Kelsey of the Lamar Kelsey Associates (original), 4240 Architecture, Inc. of Denver (2018 addition and renovation of original the building)

Builder – N. G. Petry Construction Co. of Denver (original), Pinkard Construction Company (2018 addition and renovation of the original building)

400 University Avenue

In the 1960s, CSU recognized the need for expanding and upgrading the facilities for its Forestry and Range Science programs. After many years of struggling to gain the needed funds, ground was broken on May 8, 1974, for the Natural Resources Building with the planting of a spruce tree. Designed by architect Floyd Lamar Kelsey of Lamar Kelsey Associates, it was finished and equipped in December 1975. The new building opened for classes in January 1976. It was formally dedicated in March 1976. 

The Department of Forest Rangeland Watershed Stewardship has offices in this building as well as the neighboring Forestry Building. The building contains two computer labs for Natural Resources students and an atrium that features a natural wet and dry display. In September 2005, alumnus Edward Warner donated $30 million to College of Natural Resources. Today it serves as home to the Warner College of Natural Resources and the Department of Geosciences. 

In 1989 the old parking lot on the west side of the building was removed and a lawn area known as the “Natural Resources Commons” quadrangle was created. This landscaping project cost $60,000. In 2007 the small quadrangle would disappear to become the site for the construction of the Computer Science Building. 

In April 2016 a $3.7 million donation was received to complete the funding needed to allow the construction of a $20.2 million, 37,000 square foot addition to the south side of the building. On October 7, 2016, as part of the 2016 Homecoming celebrations, ground was broken by Michael Smith and members of the Board of Governors of the CSU System. Using the design created by 4240 Architecture, work by the Pinkard Construction Company on the renovation and new addition was started following the spring commencement in May 2017. On August 9, 2018, all construction fencing was gone and the new building stood proudly accented by the new plaza where University Avenue once was. 

The new addition features four floors of offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms.  Beginning with the ground floor they are named Plains, Foothills, Sub-tundra and Tundra. The top floor (Tundra) features an open-air patio giving a grand view of the western portion of the campus.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, September – October 1962, page 3, vol. 37, number 9.

CSU Collegian, February 5, 1968, page 3, vol. LXXVI, number 62.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 26, 1969, page 211.

CSU Collegian, September 29, 1969, page 1, vol. LXXVIII, number 10.

The CSU Alumnus, November - December 1970, vol. 46, number 5, page 5, col. 5.

CSU Collegian, February 4, 1971, page 1, vol. LXXIX, number 72.

CSU Collegian, February 11, 1971, page 7, vol. LXXIX, number 77.

CSU Collegian, March 5, 1971, page 1, vol. LXXIX, number 94.

CSU Comments, April 1, 1971, page 2, vol. 1, number 10.

CSU Collegian, January 17, 1972, page 1, vol. LXXX, number 55.

CSU Collegian, February 2, 1972, page 6, vol. LXXX, number 67.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 3, 1972, page 103.

CSU Collegian, April 10, 1972, page 1, vol. LXXX, number 93.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 22, 1972, page 232.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 18, 1972, page 5, vol. LXXXI, number 27.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 14, 1972, page 265.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 29, 1973, pages 363, 364, 370.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 18, 1973, page 9, vol. LXXXII, number 25.

CSU Comments, March 28, 1974, page 2, vol. 4, number 29.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 8, 1974, page 483.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 19, 1974, pages 499-500.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 19, 1974, page 477.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 26, 1974, pages 511-512.

The CSU Alumnus, May – June 1974, vol. 50, number 3, page 8.

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State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 18, 1974, page 547.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 8, 1975, page 1, vol. LXXXIII, number 56.

CSU Comments, January 23, 1975, page 2, vol. 5, number 18.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 14, 1975, page 65.

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The CSU Alumnus, September – October 1975, vol. 51, number 4, page 6.

CSU Comments, January 15, 1976, page 5, vol. 6, number 19.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 30, 1976, page 9, vol. LXXXIV, number 87.

CSU Comments, March 11, 1976, pages 1 and 4, vol. 6, number 27.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 15, 1976, page 2, vol. LXXXIV, number 116.

The CSU Alumnus, January – March 1976, vol. 52, number 1, page 2.

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CSU Comments, December 16, 1976, page 1, vol. 7, number 17.

CSU Comments, April 21, 1977, page 1, vol. 7, number 31.

Fort Collins Journal, December 8, 1978, page 5, vol. LXXXVII, number 79.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 18, 1983, pages 1 and 4, vol. XCII, number 55.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, May 9, 1984, page 1, vol. XCII, number 157.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 27, 1984, page 13, vol. 93, number 43.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, July 12, 1985, page 1, vol. 94, number 14.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 22, 1989, page 3, vol. 97, number 132.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, July 28, 1989, page 1, vol. 98, number 9.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 29, 1999, page 1, vol. 107, number 84.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 1, 1999, page 1, vol. 107, number 105.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 1, 2002, page 1, vol. 110, number 85.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 4, 2002, page 9, vol. 110, number 122.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 30, 2005, pages 1 and 5, vol. 114, number 37.

Comment, October 6, 2005, pages 1-2, vol. 36, number 7.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 1, 2007, page 2, vol. 115, number 116.

CSU Architects Alpha List, March 17, 2015, by James E. Hansen II, Bunts and Kelsey of Lamar Kelsey Associates.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 14, 2016, page 8, vol. 125, number 47.

http://source.colostate.edu/csu-announces-13-million-gift-from-energy-entrepreneur-michael-smith-to-create-student-scholarships-and-advance-construction-of-facilities/, April 28, 2016, by Cara Neth, Accessed April 29, 2016.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 1, 2016, page 3, vol. 126, number 64.

http://source.colostate.edu/construction-smith-natural-resources-building-addition-kicks-off-may/, by Rob Novak, dated March 3, 2017.

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