Frequently asked questions

  • Who are the main partners in the National Western Center project?

    Colorado State University System, City and County of Denver, Western Stock Show Association, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and History Colorado are the five founding partners of the National Western Center redevelopment.


    Denver Water and Dumb Friends League have become major programmatic partners within the CSU buildings, and partners are added regularly to the CSU efforts, as well as the larger National Western Center redevelopment.

  • Why is the CSU System involved?

    As Colorado’s land-grant institution, CSU was founded on the principles of research, service, and outreach — thus, providing mission-alignment with the National Western Center redevelopment project.


    The University is also a natural fit as a National Western Center key partner due to its long history with the National Western Stock Show, as well as educational expertise and innovation in the areas of water, food, health and veterinary medicine, and sustainability.

  • How will CSU's buildings be funded?

    In 2015, the Colorado legislature provided state funding of $200 million for CSU to build three facilities at the National Western Center: Vida, Hydro, and Terra. Another $50 million was allocated for the construction of complementary and support facilities on the CSU campus in Fort Collins: Health Education Outreach Center, Translational Medicine Institute, and Equine Vet Teaching Hospital.

  • What is CSU System's focus at the NWC?

    CSU System is focused around food and agriculture, water, sustainability, and animal and human health. These areas of focus are intended to encompass a variety of subject areas relevant to the most pressing global issues and to fit within a context of arts, culture, and economic development on the National Western Center site.

  • Why is the CSU Spur campus in Denver?

    The National Western Center formed when several partners came together to make sure that the National Western Stock Show continued to stay in Denver. To make this happen, the City & County of Denver proposed redeveloping the Stock Show site into a year-round destination.


    CSU System joined the project as the educational anchor, and gained support from the Colorado legislature to build three buildings focused on public access to education and research on pressing world issues. Those three buildings make up CSU Spur, a campus within the larger National Western Center campus. As a System offering, CSU Spur will represent CSU Fort Collins, CSU Global, and CSU Pueblo, as well as be a platform for external partners to share programming.

  • How will CSU Spur be partnering with other entities?

    CSU System is actively seeking strategic partnerships for the CSU Spur campus. Community is core to CSU Spur, and is committed to educational access and meaningful community engagement. CSU System has committed to an Anchor Institution framework at CSU Spur, and is working with schools and non-profits in the surrounding communities to provide academic and economic opportunities through the CSU Spur campus.


    The National Western Citizens Advisory Committee is made up of local residents who helped shape the site’s Master Plan.


    The University has already formed partnerships with Denver Water, the Denver Dumb Friends League, and Together We Grow.


    CSU System has a long-standing commitment to the neighborhoods and organizations in the areas surrounding the future CSU Spur campus. The University has developed more than 15 partnerships with local organizations and schools, and has taken the approach of getting to know – and listening to – the community, supporting the multitude of assets in the community already.


    CSU’s programming in the community to-date is reflective of the offerings the University will have at CSU Spur.

  • What are CSU Spur's educational offerings?

    The CSU Spur campus will offer experiential educational opportunities for all ages, including food systems discovery, river-based water research, and animal and human health offerings. CSU System aims to contribute programming that provides a positive local and global impact.

  • When will the CSU buildings open?

    CSU Spur is comprised of three buildings focused around the themes of water, food, and health.


    Vida, focused on animal and human health, broke ground in May 2020, and Terra and Hydro — focused on food and water — broke ground in Fall 2020. All buildings will open in 2022.

  • Will CSU System compete with outside organizations through its services at CSU Spur?

    No. As a public institution CSU System cannot compete with outside entities. All of the services provided at CSU Spur will be delivered in collaboration with professional and/or nonprofit groups.

  • How can I learn more?

    The National Western Center Master Plan can be viewed here. Sign up for our quarterly newsletter here, and follow @CSUSpur on social media.


    Please email with any questions or feedback about the CSU Spur campus.

  • How will visitors access the river?

    The restoration of the South Platte River, which flows adjacent to the CSU Spur campus, is a key component of the National Western Center campus.


    The “backyard” at Hydro will showcase the watersheds of Colorado through its landscaping, and the outdoor space connects to the South Platte River – allowing students to take river samples as part of their educational experience. The river activation plan is underway, and may include bike and walking paths, native landscaping, artwork, and educational components.


    Sewer lines currently blocking the view of the riverfront will be replaced and buried, and the National Western Center master energy plan plans to pull heat off the lines to be used as energy on-site. This sewer-heat recovery system will be the largest in North America.

  • What will happen to existing buildings on-site?

    The McConnell building was purchased by the CSU System and will be renovated into artist studios and open community spaces that connect to the CSU Spur Hydro building. The Livestock Exchange Building next to CSU’s Terra building is a historic element of the site, and was purchased by the National Western Center Authority in 2020. The Authority plans to restore the building and welcome mission-driven tenants. The Armor & Company Building, north of Vida, is owned by the City and will remain as part of the National Western Center. The legendary Stockyard Saloon (or Yard Bar) will also remain … hopefully with an influx of new customers!


    Learn more.

  • What’s the difference between CSU Spur, the National Western Center, and the National Western Stock Show?

    National Western Stock Show (NWSS): the annual event that brings together agricultural interests and has ~750,000 attendees from around the world. It’s been happening in Denver since 1906, and when it was thinking about leaving Denver, the city got together with NWSS, CSU, History Colorado, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the National Western Center project was envisioned so the NWSS has the facilities to stay on the historic site for the next 100+ years.


    National Western Center (NWC): the redevelopment project is a 250-acre site called the NWC; it will host the NWSS each year and be a year-round destination for concerts, conferences, farmers markets, and more. The NWC staff will program the events on the campus (~2.2 million square feet of space), with the exception of CSU Spur’s buildings.


    CSU Spur: the educational anchor of the NWC project; a campus within the larger NWC campus, so to speak. CSU Spur is focused on bringing experiential education to the public in its three buildings: Vida, Terra, and Hydro – opening in 2022. It will showcase expertise across the CSU System and focus on research and innovation and inspiring the next generation in the globally important topics of food, water, and health.


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