Boulder, Colorado | Higher Education

University of Colorado Boulder Wilderness Place Renovation

$10.5 M | 60,000 SF

Upgrades to CU Boulder’s Wilderness Place building to create new research opportunities and laboratory service spaces.

  • Wet laboratory space, vivarium space, multiple construction teams to accommodate multiple funding streams




Cator, Ruma & Associates provided mechanical, electrical, and technology design for the renovation of an off-campus building that will provide modern vivarium facilities to support behavioral research groups. 

Upon realization by the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) that their current animal holding and vivarium facilities on main campus were gaining and largely operating outside of the guidelines set forth by the animal care facilities handbook, CU sought an off-campus strategy to house and consolidate all of the animal holding facilities from the main campus, and ultimately become accredited by the Association and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC). 

The original facility was designed and constructed in 1983, and was formerly used by a private research corporation. The Wilderness Place renovation supports the university’s academic mission and gives research faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students improved research opportunities. This project created new research laboratories, laboratory service spaces, and office space. 

Intensive renovations included 5,600 square feet of existing lab space into new procedure space, 20,400 square feet of wet laboratory space, and 6,500 square feet of vivarium space. Light renovation was made to approximately 23,500 square feet of existing office space.

Cator, Ruma & Associate’s role on the project was not only to provide upgraded infrastructure systems to support the research laboratories, but also improve the systems reliability, redundancy, and energy performance. The project had multiple construction teams to accommodate multiple funding sources. 

An energy service contractor was brought on board to provide a funding source for the energy upgrades within the facility while a general contractor provided much of the laboratory and facility upgrade construction.

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