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Temple Shalom board member is architect for CU’s Colorado Springs campus

Carolyn Fox and her architectural rendering of the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts“RATHER THAN perform Shakespeare in the hallway, students and musical performers will have the opportunity to participate in the fine arts in the space they deserve,” stated Zachary Woolweaver, president of the CU-Colorado Springs (UCCS) student government association.

Woolweaver’’s passionate remarks were shared with over 300 state and local leaders and arts advocates during the groundbreaking ceremony for the UCCS Ent Center for the Arts, Aug. 13.

One of only two CU construction projects funded this year by the Colorado General Assembly, the Ent Center for the Arts is a $60 million facility scheduled to open in January 2018.

Carolyn Fox, UCCS architect and executive director of planning, design and construction, describes the campus’ growth and expansion as “the most exciting endeavor supporting economic development and education in Colorado Springs in many decades.

“We are thrilled to continue providing more and more educational opportunities to students of all ages through this unique campus in our community.

“A playing field on the top floor of the new parking structure was designed to be used for soccer, lacrosse, rugby and other team sports. Known as Alpine Field, the artificial turf field, lights, spectator bleachers and other amenities “make this one of the most creative uses of space for UCCS as well as the local community,”” Fox says about the recently opened field.

Two new residence halls serving 300 students and a dining hall will open on campus as part of the explosive growth of student enrollment and geographic expansion of UCCS in recent years.

“”My role as the architect for UCCS began years after experiences such as designing Wall Street trading floors, company cafeterias and work spaces. That was in the 1980s during the junk bond scandal on Wall Street when I was part of an in-house architectural group for Drexel Burnham Lambert.””

CAROLYN FOX began her architecture career at Syracuse University as an undergraduate, having grown up in New Jersey and Cincinnati, Ohio.

After moving to Denver in 1989, she worked for the City and County of Denver assisting with the design and renovations of projects such as the Red Rocks amphitheater, city and county buildings and other municipal projects which “brought the city out of the doldrums” during that era.

In 1995, after moving to Colorado Springs, she worked for the Colorado Architecture Partnership. Fox focused on projects for Colorado Springs utilities service centers, call centers and downtown offices.

Her interest in architecture began during high school when she realized that she liked art, math and English.

“”Architecture integrates math, engineering and art but doesn’’t require chemistry, which I didn’’t enjoy.”” As part of her pursuit of architecture credentials, she studied at the architecture association in London for one year prior to completing her undergraduate degree at Syracuse University.

During her seven years at UCCS, Fox’’s primary goal has been a cohesive campus design that meets its fast-paced growth.

“”We have a palette that we use,”” Fox said. “”We’’re unifying the campus so we’’ve developed a design theme. We create variations on that theme using the palette for a more cohesive campus style.””

THE BUILDINGS are connected with a winding pathway, dubbed ‘the pedestrian spine,’ uniting the myriad structures that were previously scattered across the hills since 2009.

“”It’’s like a thread through campus which serves as an organizing element identifying concepts from the master plan and translating them into something physically identifiable,”” says Fox.

“”We needed a yellow brick road, in other words, a path to follow down through campus. Like the yellow brick road, the pedestrian spine is curvilinear because it follows the contours of the bluffs of the beautiful land the campus occupies.””

“Since the natural landscape makes it confusing to navigate the campus, the walkway serves as an organizing feature with everything branching off of it. Eventually, the walkway will be two-and-a-half miles long.”

Construction cranes, emerging structures and groundbreaking ceremonies are part of the daily routine at UCCS.

In the past two years, the Colorado Springs community has seen the opening of the Lane Center, a new administrative building and two new residence halls with nearly 200 beds.

Approximately 1,400 residential campus-based students are a relatively small proportion of the total of 11,132 students working toward the achievement of 37 bachelor, 19 master or five doctoral degrees.

UCCS is CU’’s largest campus with approximately 500 acres of land in Colorado Springs.

One of the four pillars of Colorado Springs’ City for Champions project is a sports and wellness center underway on North Nevada.

Internships and service projects as well as community events and public-private partnerships continue to be a significant base for these major efforts.

One example is The Lane Center, now home to the Peak Vista Community Health Centers clinic.

It also is home of the recently opened branch of the CU School of Medicine, which will increase the university’s capacity to train physicians.

SINCE THIS year marks the 50th birthday of UCCS, the recent groundbreaking of the arts center is another milestone in a year-long celebration which includes academic activities, community outreach and campus-wide events.

At the helm is UCCS’ Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalaback, known for her enthusiastic leadership, innovative approach and vision for the future of the university and the region.

“”As we celebrate our golden anniversary, UCCS has been recognized by the legislature and the governor in the form of financial support from the state toward the construction of this new arts center,”” she says.

“”Many people said we couldn’t do this, and here we are today, because with vision, passion and commitment we knew that we could. The opportunity to bring something like this to Colorado Springs and to the campus is a significant accomplishment of a lot of people.””

UCCS is considered one of the top universities nationally for veterans. The student body has a substantial military component. Many UCCS programs benefit the broader community as well as military students.

The new Veterans Health and Trauma Clinic at the UCCS Lane Center provides specialized services for the military and civilian populations in the recovery from psychological challenges associated with military service, natural disaster, domestic violence, sexual assault or first responder trauma, as well as a broad range of anxiety, mood and eating disorders.

FOX IS actively involved in the Jewish community.

“”Years ago, Temple Shalom asked me to serve as committee chair to renovate the building, so we developed a long-term master plan. Starting with renovation of the religious school and preschool classrooms, the congregation proceeded with changes to the sanctuary and social hall.

““I was glad to volunteer my expertise in commercial and institutional buildings and try to bring ‘new life’ and energy to the congregation. Changing the physical space created a positive outlook for the future.””

Later improvements included a complete redesign and renovation of the larger of two kosher kitchens in the building which dates back to the early 1950s.

Fox is serving her second year on the Temple Shalom board, focusing on membership growth.

At the synagogue she initiated interest-based chavurot, which she views as opportunities to connect through common ground. Chavurot themes include hiking, dining out, theater, crafting, Scrabble, a book club and cooking.

In her spare time, Fox hikes Colorado’’s fourteeners, recently climbing her 10th peak. She is an avid Scrabble player and treasures family traditions such as baking for Jewish holidays. Each year, she uses her grandmother’s recipe for hamentaschen.

““I bake about 100 dozen so that I can ship one dozen to every family member scattered across the country. It’s these types of Jewish traditions that maintain continuity, strengthen bonds, and of course, enable my family to enjoy a nosh during the Jewish holidays.””

Copyright © 2015 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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