Man Behind the Plan

This entry is part 9 of 28 in the series Fall - 2017
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by Kay Rios (Ph.D. ’09)

At 6-foot-8-inches tall, Fred Haberecht towers over almost everyone he meets, but ask any of his colleagues and they will tell you he’s the most down-to-earth person they’ve ever known.

The former college basketball star and now University planner is the man behind the scenes for many Colorado State University construction projects, including the new on-campus stadium. Haberecht is also often in the public spotlight as spokesperson for those projects. CSU President Tony Frank estimates that, in recent history, Haberecht has given more than 150 presentations on the University’s Master Plan to campus and community audiences. While Haberecht hasn’t kept track of the number himself, he admits he does get around.

Representing the University so tirelessly recently earned Haberecht the Ram Pride Service Award from the President’s Office. The award was created in 2012 to recognize people, programs, and units that model excellence in “service above self” in upholding CSU’s land-grant mission and character. Haberecht has engaged with every constituency imaginable: students, faculty, staff, business owners, neighborhood residents, city leaders and staff, reporters, and the volunteer Stadium Advisory Group.

Fred Haberecht

Haberecht also helps manage other projects, including the formulation of collaborative infrastructure projects involving both CSU and the city of Fort Collins. The underpasses at Shields and Elizabeth and Prospect and Center, the parking structure at College and Pitkin, and the Research Boulevard parking lot are examples of the 27 such projects.

“Our relationship with the neighborhoods has changed because the context has become more of an urban community. The central theme is about relationship building between the institution and the community.” – Fred Haberecht


CSU is in a growth phase, Haberecht says. “It runs in 50 year cycles: 1967 and 1968 saw a lot of growth and we’re now in the process of building and renewal.”

And, so, he regularly finds himself in front of an audience explaining the plan, the process, and the timing, even though the public part was not in his original career plan.

“I was not trained to be a spokesman,” he admits. “My background is in the technical landscape construction and design field.”

Haberecht, born in Maryland, spent his elementary and secondary school years first in Chicago and then Los Angeles. He did his undergrad work at the University of Iowa and completed his masters at Iowa State University, and received training as a landscape architect at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Tired of the hustle and bustle of a major city, he moved to Iowa City to work for an engineering firm. There he met his wife, Becky. She had family in Fort Collins so, in 1996, they relocated. Two children were later born at Poudre Valley Hospital. (Daughter Hannah just finished her second year at CSU and son, Freddie, is an incoming freshman.)

Haberecht began work with CSU in the flood of 1997 as a contractor, working on functional and aesthetic solutions, particularly flood mitigation on Eddy Hall and Hartshorn Health Center. That work led to his hiring as general campus planner and the rest followed with new duties.

“There was a need for more public interaction,” he says. “As the volume of construction activity goes up, the complexity of the organization changes and we needed to address that. My role became a focus on planning and the interface with the community.”


The approach has changed with the times.

“If you look back to 1970, there were 17,500 students at CSU and we were in a town of 42, 500,” Haberecht says. “Today we have grown to about 28,500 full-time students and faculty and staff of 7,000 and the city has grown to just over 160,000. In the way-back machine, students were 40 percent of the City’s population, and now they are 18 percent. Even though we are a smaller percentage today, we are more impactful.”

It’s a different view, he says. “Our relationship with the neighborhoods has changed because the context has become more of an urban community. The central theme is about relationship building between the institution and the community. Our senior leaders, the president and the city manager, see that in an absolute way. Both see that synergy creating a successful university and a successful town.”

The cooperative relationship between town and gown works well, Haberecht says.

“I think that’s because most people who live and learn and work in this community are invested. People choose to live here because it’s something special.”


THE ROAD MAP FOR THE 21ST CENTURY, adopted in 2014, is CSU’s master plan providing the framework for design, a working document that is updated every 10 years.

The plan describes the basis for individual long-range plans and sub-plans. Long-range plans include campus circulation, transit, building revitalization, landscape and gardens, utilities, and land acquisition. The sub-plans include outdoor lighting and safety, signage, drainage, art in public places, ADA Transition Plan, plaza improvements, and plans for outlying campuses.

Since master planning is a process, the University continues to review, challenge, and update the plan to meet needs as they change. This means that the Road Map for the 21st Century is based on evolving demographics of the University rather than specific time frames.

CSU Construction – Master Plan

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