Skip to main content area Skip to sub-navigation
Skip to main content

Building on the Block: Renovated Tutt Library

The Charge: Renovate Tutt Library — the intellectual hub of the campus — for our students and community on the Block Plan. This renovated physical space will offer technology-equipped seminar rooms, study space, and group collaboration rooms, as well as a cafe to bring our community together in both structured and unstructured ways. Being flexible to engage both faculty and student interests will be the key to the physical — and academic — space.

What’s Happening: On the first day of the 2017-18 academic year, the campus community came together to officially open the newly renovated Tutt Library. The $45 million renovation of Tutt Library makes it the largest academic library to achieve net-zero construction.

“This is very impressive because it’s never been done in a building of this scale,” says Ian Johnson, director of the Office of Sustainability. “It has to function 24/7 with the Block Plan in a library that’s over 90,000 square feet.” The new “net-zero” library is yet another environmentally sustainable project, and a model for future buildings on campus. It can even serve as a tool of study for students and scholars in related fields. “I’m very excited about this,” Johnson says of the project. “This is the coolest project I’ve worked on.”

The landmark achievement comes in spite of adding approximately 25,000 additional square feet to the building and nearly doubling the seating capacity. The library is on the leading edge for the technology it houses as well, with a data visualization lab, space for new and emerging technology, a Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) laboratory, and an experimental classroom equipped with state of the art teaching technology.

“The vision for the building was what attracted me to this position and it continues to inspire,” says JoAnn Jacoby, who joined the college in early August as the library’s new director. “The new Tutt Library is a stunning space with expansive views of the Rockies that leaves no mistake where you are — the intellectual heart of one of the finest liberal arts campuses. Seeing students fill every nook and corner on the first day of the semester was a moment all of us in the building celebrated.”

Jacoby previously served as associate dean for user services in the University of Illinois Library, the largest publicly funded academic library in the U.S.

Members of Colorado College’s Class of 2021 will be the first class to experience all four years learning, conducting research, and studying in a library built specifically for the college’s pioneering Block Plan. Appropriately, one of the first classes to be taught in the new library is CC President Jill Tiefenthaler’s Economics of Higher Education, which she co-teaches with her husband, Research Professor Kevin Rask.

“I’m looking forward to seeing student research presentations in the space,” says Jacoby. “This is an ideal venue to share insights with the campus community and potentially to magnify the impact of the sort of engaged projects that are so characteristic of CC students. And speaking of magnifying, I can’t wait to see the innovative ways the CC community uses the data visualization wall!”

Tutt Library, originally constructed in 1962, now has advanced audiovisual and technology systems, including wireless accessibility, that meet current and anticipated future demands. Faculty and students are able to access collections and vital data, and communicate seamlessly with one another, even while off campus. Its resources like the new library and its technological advances that are necessary to take full advantage of CC’s signature field study and study abroad experiences.

Susie Burghart ’77, a Colorado College Trustee, joined in the opening celebration and is the namesake for Susie B's Cafe on the third floor of the library. The space offers indoor and outdoor seating, plenty of tables for group work and meetings, a great assortment of snacks and beverages, and one of the best views of Pikes Peak on campus.

A geothermal energy field on Armstrong Quad, consisting of 80 wells, each 400- feet deep and five and a half inches wide; a 115-kilowatt rooftop solar array; a 400-kilowatt offsite solar array; a green roof-top garden; and a 130-kilowatt combined heat and power system are all part of what makes this an environmentally sustainable project. Project planners hope that the net-zero energy library may even prove to be a net –producer of energy after the first year of operations. The building recently received one of three 2017 Innovation Awards from the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

By uniting so many academic support programs and offices under one roof, the renovated Tutt Library is a dynamic place where the CC community comes together to share ideas, explore, and create knowledge. It provides a physical home for academic services including the Crown Center, the Colket Center for Academic Excellence, library service, and technology services. Innovative and collaborative learning and event spaces provide opportunities to showcase faculty and student projects, and there are support services for undergraduate and faculty research.

“In addition to being a hub for academic support services and an inviting place for scholarly work, the new Tutt Library is a vital civic space where Colorado College comes together to celebrate and recreate our unique community,” says Jacoby.