A new Welcome Center is under construction at Aims Community College. The building, expected to open in December 2021, will house Student Services, an auditorium and offer spaces for student collaboration and community gatherings.
Approved by the college’s Board of Trustees in August 2018, the 106,000-square-foot facility is being built on the Greeley Campus. The entirety of the project is being paid for with reserve and operating budgets with no additional cost to taxpayers.
Why a Welcome Center?
The student population at Aims has grown throughout the years, creating a need for more spaces where students can interact, gather, study, and relax. The Welcome Center will offer this, plus much more for students and the community at large.
Admissions, academic advising, financial aid and other student services will be housed in the building, allowing students to easily connect with the services they need. Ultimately, commencement will be held at the Welcome Center, too.
The design was heavily influenced by student surveys where the need for more dining options and spaces to collaborate both indoors and outdoors were consistently ranked as important to the evolving student culture.
Aims also worked with the community through panel discussions and open forums to assess the need for a facility of this scale and to design it collaboratively with Weld County’s future in mind.
The new Welcome Center epitomizes the success of Aims in its design and function. This Welcome Center is designed based on input from students (past and present), student applicant surveys and input from many community leaders. The center will serve not only students, but community members and institutions as well. It is with pride that we are able to say thank you for the support Aims has received over the past 53 years from the Greeley and Weld County communities, allowing Aims to grow into one of the leading educational and forward-thinking institutions in Colorado.
-Lyle Achziger, Chair, Aims Board of Trustees
What will it include?
In addition to hosting college-wide events in the 1700-seat presentation room, such as graduation and speakers, the highly flexible design will also allow the community to host conferences and banquets.
A moveable glass wall in the presentation room allows for an event to be held inside and out simultaneously and host an additional 250 attendees while the mezzanine level surrounding the presentation room will allow for additional seating for 100 on retractable bleachers, which can be tucked away out of sight.
A third-floor banquet hall will accommodate 800 people while seated at tables. The banquet hall is also in close proximity to the 3,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, offering an additional catering and service option for business meetings in Weld County.
A sweeping view of the Rocky Mountains will be visible, too, from the banquet hall. The building is tall enough that west-facing windows provided an opportunity to expose that iconic view of the Front Range.
Moving people safely and efficiently throughout the building called for two escalators and four elevators plus an additional freight elevator. To keep people moving safely outside the building, a snowmelt system will be installed under the concrete on the north side of the building, where the tall building will provide too much shade for natural snowmelt. Plans also call for 500 parking spaces, expanding Aims’ parking capacity to 2,500 total.
College Center gets renovation, renamed Student Commons
The project also includes a complete renovation of the College Center, which will be renamed the Student Commons. The Welcome Center and the Student Commons will connect via a southern walkway or promenade. The Student Commons is expected to open in mid-2022.