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The 1990-91 athletic season was a landmark one for the University of Colorado in two areas. The year produced national championships in football (its first) and skiing (its 14th at the time), and the men’s basketball team reached the NIT Final Four.

That was also the year that the magnificent Dal Ward Athletic Center became a reality. The entire construction process was completed in less than nine months, from ground-breaking in December 1990, to completion the following August.

The $14 million building was completely funded through private donations. This multi-functional, state-of-the-art structure is one of the top facilities anywhere in college athletics.

The Dal Ward Center boasts 92,000 square feet that includes academic and computer centers, sports medicine and weight training centers, a full-service kitchen and dining area, an auditorium, men’s and women’s lockerrooms, a player’s lounge and offices for athletic administration and coaches.

Construction on the project actually began in November, 1990, with the demolition of the old team house building, which had stood in the north end of Folsom Field since its erection in 1967. The foundation was dug and concrete poured over the next ­couple of months, with construction of the actual building starting in February, 1991. The structure was available for the football team’s use by mid-August, with the remainder of the building completed later that fall.

The building is named for Dallas Ward, the football coach who led CU into the Big Seven Conference in 1948. Ward was the head coach for the Buffaloes for 11 seasons (1948-1958), compiling a 63-41-6 record, with his teams noted for the single wing offense.

The facility has several outstanding attributes, which benefit both the athletic department and the entire CU-Boulder campus. The tile roof, native stone walls and traditional Italinate architecture were selected to compliment the style of the Boulder campus. The Center also establishes a new sense of entry to the campus coming from the north. The building features a dramatic two-story entry and lobby space with a grand staircase.

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