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MSU Denver explores campus neighborhood expansions

A Q&A with Tina Wells, director of Facilities Planning and Space Management, on the status of two potential projects.

By Lindsey Coulter

February 18, 2019

People walking on Auraria campusIt’s an exciting time to be a Roadrunner. With the recent establishment of the Health Institute and the ongoing development of the Classroom to Career Hub, Metropolitan State University of Denver continues to push toward excellence and innovation.

To support these advancements, the University is exploring two potential projects that would create new educational and student support spaces. MSU Denver has tapped architect Anderson Mason Dale to guide early talks on a potential Health Institute facility, and recently issued a Request for Qualifications for a possible C2 Hub project. The Early Bird spoke with Tina Wells, Director of Facilities Planning and Space Management, for an update and a little design 101.

What is an RFQ?

An RFQ is a qualifications-based selection process for professional services. It allows selection of a firm based on who is the most qualified for the project. The RFQ is a requirement per State Procurement rules when professional service fees are estimated to be greater than $100,000. 

What does MSU Denver look for in an architect or contractor?

MSU Denver follows actually follows a State of Colorado RFQ template, and there are some areas in which we can cater to specific project needs. The template asks applicants to provide the individual qualifications and relevant experience of their project team members, and the experience those individuals have working as a team on projects of similar scope and complexity. It also looks at lines of authority. Essentially, has the firm identified essential management functions and effectively integrated those functions with consultants? Then we ask applicants to outline their methodologies for cost control, quality control, and scheduling. Finally, they need to demonstrate success on past relevant project and provide references for those projects.

Does this mean designs are on the way?

Actually, a program plan is the first step. The program plan does not include design, but rather the team develops color-coded blocks of space representing programmatic needs and the types of spaces that could best accommodate and support them, such as offices, classrooms, labs, etc. It helps us understand the programmatic needs of the initiative, in this case the Health Institute or C2 Hub, and how those needs will fit into the form and structure of a potential building. Through the programming process, a conceptual design for the building is established as well as potential costs. When that information is determined, the Facilities team and architect will work with each project’s cross-functional team to examine funding models.

What is the status on the C2 Hub project in particular?

The RFQ has been solicited and we’ve received submittals from architects who are interested in the work. We’ve evaluated their qualifications and we’re going to interview the short listed architects next week. Later this month we’ll identify which architect we’ll be working with to develop the program plan.

Will the campus community have a chance to weigh in?

Throughout the program plan process we develop workshops with the identified building steering committee, and engage the departments and programs that will likely be a part of the building program. We also throughout the process will host town halls or focus groups with the community at large. At those points we welcome people to join the conversation.

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