Everyone on campus has their own opinion on the construction of the Robson Arena. Depending on who you talk to, the new arena will either be the best thing to happen to Colorado College athletics, or an unnecessary logistical nightmare that does not reflect the interests of the student body.
The college has acknowledged the major changes the arena will pose on the student body and the greater Colorado Springs community by hosting community meetings. These meetings have been advertised to both students and Colorado Springs residents and take place on campus at the Kathryn Mohrman Theatre in Armstrong Hall. However, the majority of attendees have been Colorado Springs residents, partially due to the fact that these meetings have taken place during school breaks. The third meeting took place on March 23, during CC’s Spring Break, when most students were off campus. The fourth and final meeting is scheduled for June 1, another date when the majority of students will be off campus.
The arena’s consultant project manager, Chris Lieber, stated that these meetings have served as a catalyst for significant changes made to the site plan and construction of the arena. The arena has been moved to the north side of the block toward Cache La Poudre Street, in an effort to activate the street. The retail component of the project has been increased on Tejon Street, expanding the plaza and campus along Tejon.
The meetings have also revealed the importance of the arena’s architecture to the community, as many of the proposed changes include refining the architecture. The community has indicated they want to continue the use of stone and natural elements seen around campus, specifically on Palmer Hall, Cutler Hall, and Shove Chapel in the design of the new arena. To Colorado Springs residents, the arena represents an expansion of Colorado College into the immediate community; the external and internal experience must reflect that.
However, the lack of student attendance at these meetings has, in turn, caused a lack of student input in the plans for arena construction. Many of the changes caused by construction of the arena will directly and immediately affect CC students more than the rest of the community. An example of this is the relocation of the 3D Arts Workshop. Studio art majors at CC are given private studio space their senior year to work on their original thesis, a unique experience that will be hindered by the construction of the arena.
The parking plans for the arena have been the most controversial and contested as they encroach on public and private parking space. The college plans to increase parking space by relocating the Burghart Tennis Courts, home to the CC’s women’s and men’s tennis teams. For now, the courts will remain in place, but the plan for the future is to relocate them across Monument Creek next to the Van Briggle Transportation Center. Students have been informed about these upcoming changes to the campus. Unfortunately, the student body has not been provided with a specific and productive way to give imput as students while being cognizent of our break schedules.