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The land bordered by 19th and 20th streets, with Athens Street on the south side. University of Colorado Regents approved tentative plans to build two new CU Boulder residence halls on the site.  (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
The land bordered by 19th and 20th streets, with Athens Street on the south side. University of Colorado Regents approved tentative plans to build two new CU Boulder residence halls on the site. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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The University of Colorado Boulder is developing plans to build two new residence halls near Athens and 17th streets to house 750 students and allow for older residence halls to undergo renovations.

The buildings, currently named North Boulder Creek Residence Hall One and Two, would be built at 17th and Athens — the site of the former College Inn, which was demolished in 2013 — and 19th and Athens, with the graduate student housing Athens North Hall sandwiched in between.

College Inn, built in the 1960s, served as a conference center and overflow student housing over the years. Its popcorn ceilings contained asbestos, and the campus required students to sign lease agreements with stipulations not to touch them. Campus leaders decided to tear it down rather than abate the asbestos and complete $3 million in renovations.

CU’s Board of Regents approved preliminary program plans for the two residence halls on Thursday, an initial green light for the project.

“That means those projects have been identified as needs the campus intends to pursue sometime in the next five years,” spokesperson Josh Lindenstein wrote in an email. “They do not require significant immediate funding, and the timeline will be determined based on final approval of full program plans by the Board of Regents.”

CU Boulder currently has 9,967 beds on campus, according to university documents. Building the new residence halls does not account for a growing freshman class, but instead provides “surge space” to renovate older residence halls. The new residence halls can be used as living space for older students after that.

The preliminary plans identify Farrand Hall, Cheyenne Arapaho and Libby Hall as needing renovation. If final plans are approved, renovations would occur over the following three years, according to campus documents.

A rough timeline for North Boulder Creek residence halls includes designing them this summer, starting construction in mid- to late 2023 and having students move in in August and January 2025. The first residence hall is estimated to cost $89.8 million and the second is estimated to cost $83.8 million.