By Alexis Vigil
Colorado State University Pueblo’s newly renovated psychology building, dubbed the Center for Integrated Health and Human Inquiry (CIHHI), celebrated its grand reopening just in time for the fall semester on Thursday, August 20, 2020.
The $16.8 million state-funded renovation project was completed in just one year, beginning in May 2019 and finished in May 2020.
The building houses several different departments- health sciences, nursing, the humanities, social sciences, technology, and data sciences.
Some of the new features include simulation labs, distance learning capabilities, accessibility, collaborative spaces, and other modern concepts. It is also the home for Student Health Services and the Counseling Center.
The project’s goals included flexibility, a new entry, collaboration, innovation, community, technology, branding identity, program elevation and inspiration.
Trisha Pocius is the Assistant to the Dean- College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Pocius’ main role is to “oversee processes within the college,” which holds nine departments. She also works closely with other administrative assistants and supports the department’s chairs.
She was involved in the beginning of the project by attending meetings to assist with the design of the building. She was confident in the project teams and said “From the very first meeting, I had no doubts, this building will be done on time,” she continued, “they were ahead of schedule the entire time.”
Dr. Alegría Ribadeneira is the Director of World Languages Program, a Full Professor of Spanish and Assistant Chair of English and World Languages Department. She was intimately involved with the project from beginning to end.
She does a little bit of everything and calls herself the Director of Good Cheer: “I try to serve in any way I can. I really believe in the mission of the university and whenever I see something is needed, I jump right in.”
That’s exactly how she landed an important role during the big move when they were going to shut down the building. She helped transition about 75 faculty and staff members from the Psychology building into the General Classroom Building (GCB).
Dr. Ribadeneira wanted to make the process fun for everyone, so she came up with a camp theme since the move was only temporary. She added plenty of camp ideas like s’more goodie bags and even called herself the main “Camp CHASS Counselor.”
Other than facilitating the move of the faculty and staff in and out of the building she was also part of the design process. The faculty and staff held meetings in a collaborative effort to fulfill the needs of every department. They gave feedback to the architect, selected furniture and even signed off on final decisions.
Dr. Ribadenerira last role was an idea that didn’t come to fruition; she wanted to build a maze/labyrinth right outside the building “to represent all the disciplines,” she said. It didn’t happen because “we ran out of money,” she explained, “but maybe one day.”
The move back into the new building was a very different homecoming than what was expected due to the coronavirus restrictions. Nevertheless, Dr. Ribadeneira believes that the completion should be celebrated, “it can be enjoyed now and for many, many years to come,” she said.
The new building aligns with CSU Pueblo’s Vision 2028 to become the people’s university. The whole concept of the space is in collaboration and dedication to interdisciplinary learning. “This space is trying to transform learning; we have reimagined the academic experience by integrating all these different disciplines,” said Dr. Ribadeneira.
Naming the building was also a collaborative effort and a considerable task. The team of faculty and staff members wanted to encompass all the areas of study and it was important that everyone agreed.
The “Integrated” and “Health” part of the name were a no-brainer since both the Health Sciences and Health Centers are located in the building. The trickier half was to find an umbrella term for the Humanities and Social Sciences which are broad fields. Through research and discussions, the name “Human Inquiry” was agreed upon because it covered all the areas.
The building does not have an official sign yet because they want it to be really special; it is going to be a finishing touch.
For more information on any of the following Student Health Services please see the CSU Pueblo school website or other school resources or call and make an appointment.
- Wolfpack Wellness Center
- Counseling Center
- And COVID-19 testing
Special thanks to the project teams:
Owner’s Representative- Wember
Contractor- HW Houston
Architect | Interior Design, Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineer and Technology- DLR Group
Civil Engineer- NorthStar Engineering and Surveying, Inc
Landscape Architect- Design Collaborative, Inc