Lone Tree may bring CU location into the fold

Process has begun to add the South Denver campus

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An institution of higher education could soon find itself within the Lone Tree city limits.

On Jan. 10, a petition was filed for Lone Tree to annex the CU South Denver property at 10035 S. Peoria St. into the city. The building is currently located in unincorporated Douglas County, with a Parker mailing address.

“We like to operate in the communities we live in actively,” Luella Chavez D'Angelo, the University of Colorado's vice chancellor for enterprise development, said during the Jan. 17 city council meeting. “We really believe that we are part of a fabric of the community in every way, shape and possible form.”

According to Lone Tree's 2016 resident survey, only 42 percent of residents ranked existing local higher education opportunities as “good” or “excellent.”

“We are very much looking forward to the dialogue and discussion,” Mayor Jackie Millet said. “It was clearly stated that the citizens here are looking for higher education.”

Jeff Holwell, Lone Tree's economic development director, said both the city and school would benefit from the annexation.

“The addition of higher education to our mix with the CU branding on it is a value to the city,” Holwell said.

Benefits for CU South Denver, Holwell said, are municipal services, including public safety, last-mile transit, and local government advocacy. The location would have a Lone Tree address consistent with the surrounding region, making it easier to locate, he added.

The next steps to annex the property are a public hearing and city council first reading of the annexation ordinance on March 7, city council second reading on March 21 and, if approved, an effective date of annexation on April 20.

“It is very exciting for us to be considered for annexation,” D'Angelo said. “We are very grateful to Douglas County for helping us thus far. There is a difference between being in an unincorporated space and being really engrained in a community, and that is what we are looking for.”

D'Angelo said the CU South Denver location serves students south of Hampden Avenue and north of Castle Rock. The location merges professors from the campuses in Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.

On Jan. 1, 2015, the school's building, formerly the Wildlife Experience museum — which is now part of the campus — was gifted to the University of Colorado by Dave and Gail Liniger, co-owners of RE/MAX.

The location has grown from 285 course enrollments in its first semester to 817 in its third. Maureen Durkin, CU South Denver's assistant vice chancellor for strategy and organizational effectiveness, said the location primarily serves working professionals looking to advance their education.

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