Education Snapshots: Colorado College – Ed Robson Arena

Today, their Arena is a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art, and sustainably designed competition venue that brings much more than practice space for the campus and community.

JLG Architects designed a state-of-the-art space with the Ed Robson Arena for Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In the fall of 2021, Colorado College (CC) unveiled its first on-campus hockey arena and sporting event venue, Ed Robson Arena, designed by JLG Architects. Totaling 135,000 square feet, this endeavor marked the first time the Colorado Tigers hockey team could play games on campus since the program’s founding in 1938. As another historic first, the entire on-campus community in Colorado Springs is invited to gather and walk to one indoor location. The Ed Robson Arena may have been originally planned as a practice venue, but its future is already aligning with a long list of new uses. Today, their Arena is a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art, and sustainably designed competition venue that brings much more than practice space for the campus and community.

Unrivaled Views

JLG’s winning design leveraged the team’s extensive hockey experience to create three individual floor plates. The main event level houses the entry lobby, major service, locker rooms, and training spaces for the Arena and the team. Look up to find an elevated main concourse and the primary public concourse, with a 360-degree circulation path that wraps around the seating bowl. The seats cascade down from a circulation path to the ice rink below, giving fans a constant, uninterrupted view of the action on the ice.

At the top is an elevated club deck featuring a private and premium open concourse housing two open club lounges with individual club seating sections, including two private suites and a center ice media and production suite.

Home Ice Advantages

The Arena’s overall concept focused on big-picture campus goals – creating an iconic campus event space and sports centerpiece the entire community and campus could enjoy. To achieve this vision, JLG organized the floorplan into an optimized hockey and event environment with a four-sided, center-hung scoreboard and seating circling the entire bowl. The seating decks are steep and intimate, allowing fans to be close to the ice, on top of the action, and loud and proud – creating the ultimate home-ice advantage for the Colorado Tigers.

With views overlooking campus and Pikes Peak, CC wanted to capture the outdoor connection, even in the main seating bowl. Inside, fans can catch a glimpse of nature through a ribbon of strategically placed windows, adding depth within 13,500 square feet of glass. Outside of the seating bowl, the Arena has been perfectly tailored to support student-athletes. To achieve full customization, JLG’s team scrutinized and mapped out interaction and player pathways, carefully considering the daily and gameday activities of staff, administration, media, and recruits.

As a result of collaborative planning, CC is home to a unique Arena that’s easy to manage and maintain while being optimized for high-level athletic competition. Athletes have access to a comprehensive sports medicine facility, in-house TV production, and flexible floor space. To build pre-game excitement, spacious locker rooms create a fully branded experience with the Colorado College logo illuminating the core. Nearby, the player’s lounge is equipped with PlayStations, TVs, and a sound system adjacent to a 2,000-square-foot weight room. The training spaces are designed to make an impression, with hydrotherapy tubs and a private team video room with theater-style seating; a quiet space for teams and coaches to engage in one-on-one work sessions.

Optimized for Amenities

Today, the Ed Robson Arena is prepared to host intramural and club hockey programs, figure skating, and community hockey leagues. Beyond the rink, CC set aside space for student life activities and academics, while the community benefits through public skating with skate rental, public lockers, and secure storage. Taking their multi-purpose design one step further, the hockey arena easily transforms its 3,400 seats into a 4,600-seat venue with center stage and concert configurations.

Located on the southeast side of campus, the Arena provides boundless commercial opportunities. A campus-inspired streetscape allows buildings to flow in and out along Tejon Street’s edge, offering a CC Tigers team store, café, campus bookstore, retail outlets, campus security, and ticket operations. The site also incorporates an art studio, health center, mail room, and communal gathering spot for students, athletes, and fans alike. Supporting these amenities is an attached four-level parking ramp that can be used for students during the academic day, then for fans and concertgoers during events.

For gatherings, Colorado College now can close Tejon Street to vehicular traffic on event nights, creating an active, extended plaza for patrons to unite. This gathering space is adjacent to the base of a heroic glass entry lobby which houses a grand stair rising from the street, allowing fans direct access to the main concourse.