Ed Robson Arena’s Commitment to Colorado Springs

3,400 seats. 269,227 square feet of space. 2,571 cup holders. 2,188,000 pounds of structural steel. 13,500 square feet of glass. 10.02 miles of heating/cooling pipe that supports the ice system. 6,950 cubic yards of concrete. 750 workers on site.

Those numbers all help tell pieces of the story of the construction and features of Ed Robson Arena and Mike & Barbara Yalich Student Services Center, but the real story of this project is in the impact that this building made for Colorado College and the City of Colorado Springs.

The Ed Robson Arena is a new 3,400-seat complex that appreciates the past of Colorado College’s historic campus while embracing the future: allowing the Tigers to skate on home ice for the first time in the program’s 83-year history, while being a community resource for Colorado Springs’ Olympic City USA. The project wasn’t without its challenges, but Nunn overcame unexpected manpower and logistics constraints to open on time for the 2021-2022 season opener, this staple City for Champions project serves as a tourism and economic driver, enhancing the City’s vitality.


This project comprises three parts: the Ed Robson Arena, a multilevel parking garage, and the Mike & Barbara Yalich Student Services Center. All were completed in under 20 months, beginning with a groundbreaking on February 3, 2020. Weeks later, Colorado issued COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Despite being confined to a single busy block downtown, and an outbreak that shuttered the job site for 12 days, the entire project was completed on time.

Pandemic-related material supply challenges also required weekly (if not daily) tracking to ensure that materials would arrive as planned. Insulation was expected to be delayed by months, but Nunn’s team worked with the design teams to change their plan and select a different material that could arrive on time and not delay the project’s roof work.

Nunn’s management of the schedule during construction allowed us to make up for COVID-related delays, reduced crew manpower, supply chain issues, and a few weather delays. This allowed for substantial completion in June 2021—in time for Colorado College’s Tiger Hockey’s summer practice.


According to Colorado College Tiger hockey players, referees, and coaches, Ed Robson Arena boasts some of the fastest ice on which they have ever skated. Understanding quality ice was a key cornerstone of this project, our team followed a series of quality control steps resulting in 10.02 miles of pipe and 420 cubic yards of concrete laid in one continuous pour to prevent cold joints in the floor that could negatively affect the ice.

A 28-day curing process entailed covering the slab with water cure blankets, followed by five days of around-the-clock work to make the ice. Three chillers and multiple pumps were used to cycle the refrigerant through the miles of piping to reach the required ice thickness and maintain the temperatures and quality. The sequence and flow in and around the arena ice ensured the Ed Robson Arena would be, and remain, a pleasure to skate across.

Reaching official completion on September 27, 2021, the arena opened in time for the Colorado College Tiger Hockey team to host its first event on ice: an exhibition game against the Air Force Falcons. But its influence extends beyond college hockey. As a pilar project for the Colorado Springs City for Champions initiative, the Ed Robson Arena is also an anchor between the Colorado College campus and Colorado Springs community. The arena keeps its doors open to the public and for future engagements, advocating Colorado Springs as an appealing city to call either a tourism destination or home.


The project also contributes to the student and community experience. The Mike & Barbara Yalich Student Services Center became the new home of the Colorado College bookstore, which had previously been in a campus basement. Similar to how Ed Robson Arena opened its doors to the public, the center enhanced the college’s identity with boosted visibility for their bookstore, health and wellbeing services, mail center, art studio, and space for a future public restaurant.

Ed Robson Arena was designed and built with commitment to sustainability in mind. After Nunn closely analyzed various energy-efficient options, Colorado College opted for a heating and cooling system fed from the campus. This solution worked toward lowering energy consumption while aligning with Colorado College’s net zero presence and sustainable goals. The arena and student center are designed to perform at a high standard while remaining easy for facilities staff to maintain and operate.

The arena also connects to its environment through the materials used. JLG Architects selected stone, aluminum and perforated fin façade to reflect and tie in with other campus buildings. Inclusion of terra cotta is also a nod to the neighboring iconic rock formations at Garden of the Gods.

The City for Champions initiative in Colorado Springs, using revenue from the 2013 Regional Tourism Act, helped fund the Ed Robson Arena as the fifth project in its program. The city forecasts the initiative to boost tourism and add $4.4 million in new sales tax revenue for the city annually, making Colorado Springs an even more attractive place both to visit and live and putting Colorado Springs on the international stage when Ed Robson recently hosted the 2023 IJRU World Jump Rope Championships.

In the two years since its completion, we’re proud of how the Ed Robson Arena is continuing to expand its vision of serving the community with hockey and athletics while sharing the ice with community regional, national, and international events, open skates, intramural sports, and club teams.

Image Credit: JLG Architects & Ron Pollard Photography at the First Colorado College Hockey Home Game vs. Air Force.

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