HP/Compaq/Digital Equipment Campus in Colorado Springs

A note

This was a post I wrote in 2012 when this massive technology campus in my hometown was being demolished. It was a project I had never finished, but always promised myself that I would go back and do so. Better late than never, right? Note that this was written by a sophomore in high school, so excuse the poor writing.


Hewlett-Packard, the technology company, has a campus near my neighborhood. The campus contains 5 buildings:

Source: Google Earth

The two biggest buildings with the brown roofs are office buildings. The one on the left was built in 1985 in is 301,559 sq. ft. The one on the right was built in 1979 and is 778,401 sq ft. large. Just stop and think about that. My school could fit inside that building 3 times and then some. In fact, the building is so big that you can see it from pretty far up in Google Earth:

Source: Google Earth

The building with a white roof is the newest addition, a data center, built in 2009 and is 249,958 sq. ft. large.

The last two buildings are misc. buildings. The building nearest to the bottom of the screen is an “A-Frame” which was used when this campus used to be a manufacturing center as a static-free environment. (1982; 4,910 sq. ft.). The other building closest to that one is a pump for the man-made pond that is next to the largest building (1988; 188).

Data Source: El Paso County Assessor’s Office

Right now, you’re probably wondering what the title of this post (HP CXO1/CXO2) means. CXO1/CXO2 are the building IDs for the largest building on the campus. (The building, although joined as one, is technically two different buildings. You can make out a slight difference in the color of the roofs in the picture above. The one to the left is CXO1, and the one to the right is CXO2.

After being in use for over 33 years, it is being demolished.

This building has some sentimental value to me. It was where my dad worked for 14 years, and growing up, it would be a treat to go hang out with him.

So, sort of to “pay tribute” to it, I have decided to make this blog post.

A Brief History

Digital Equipment built every building on this campus, except for the data canter, from 1979-1988. For those of you who don’t know, Digital Equipment was a computer company that was very ininnovative. For example they were one of the founding fathers of Ethernet, and the company that made it commercially successful. Most of what was left of the company was acquired by Compaq in June 1998.

Image/Information Source: Wikipedia

The CXO1/CXO2 buildings was one of the first in the now heavily-populated Rockrimmon neighborhood of Colorado Springs. Situated behind a hill, the entire campus is out of sight from most of the neighborhood.

You can see the entrance to the campus and the hill that it is behind in this pictureSource: Google Streetview

The CXO1/CXO2 buildings were built as a disc manufacturing building. However, during the Late ’80s or early ’90s, it was switched to all offices, labs, etc.

The CXO3 building (northwestern most building) was originally a customer support center. Today, customer support has been dramatically decreased, and the building is mostly offices, labs, etc.

This campus was probably at around its highest occupancy rate when Compaq owned it, from around 1998-2002. All of the buildings were so full that there was talk about potentially creating more room in the form of new buildings. However, those plans never went through.

This photo from 8/1/03, which is by the time that HP owned the campus (about a year after Compaq) gives you an idea about how full it was:

Source: HelloColoradoSprings.com

Source: Google Earth

You can see that more parking spaces had to be created, it was so full (that’s what all of those black rectangles are).

As the years progressed, many people were gradually moved out of the building do to various reasons: layoffs, job transfers out of this campus, restructuring, etc. By 2011, only the bottom floor of the south-eastern most corner was occupied. In late 2011, what was left was moved to the CXO3 building.  In 2012, the building was completely vacant, and demolition had begun.

Demolishing wasn’t HP’s most preferred choice for the CXO1/CXO2 building. Ideally, it could have been either sold or leased*. Unfortunately, there was need for such a behemoth of a building, even though the interior was renovated recently enough to make it fairly modern. Another solution was to possibly turn it into another data center. However, once again, it would have been too large, and massive renovations would have been required. There were not really any other viable solutions besides demolition.

*Compaq/HP have actually leased parts of the CXO1/CXO2 building before. As you can see in the photo below, SNIA also had offices at this campus, although they no longer do now:

Source: Flickr/Dipity

HP put G.E. Johnson construction in charge of demolishing the building, as well as selling office furniture, among other things from the building. The demolition began roughly in March/April 2012. No end date has been set.

As of May 7, 2012, most of the inside of the buildings has been gutted. Most of the building’s frame has not been removed, as can be seen in this picture:

Source: Jared Stark

More Information

Through the use of different photos (most of them are posted in no particular order), I will give more information above the Colorado Springs HP campus, and more specifically, the CXO1/CXO2 building.

In this picture, you can see the artificial pond. The size of the pond has shrunk by just a bit since this picture was taken. The wedge sticking out of the building is the Cafeteria (which I will talk more about later), which had lovely views of the forest to the south of the campus, as well as Pike’s Peak.This picture was taken sometime between 1998 and 2002, when Compaq owned this building. I do not know what the construction is about.

Source: HelloColoradoSprings.com

This is another shot of the pong/cafeteria from around the same time period. This shot just has the circular pump house in the foreground.

Source: HelloColoradoSprings.com

Here is a similar shot, but from today. Next time I’m there, I will try to get picture with the pond in it to show that it’s shrunk in size.

Source: Jared Stark

As I said, the cafeteria had a very beautiful view from it. In the foreground, a forest, and in the background, Pike’s Peak.

Source: StorageNerve

Another view from the HP campus, most likely from near the CXO3 building. You can see Ute Valley Park in the foreground.

Source: HelloColoradoSprings.com

I have, in my possession, a picture of the interior of the cafeteria. As soon as I get it, I will put it on. The wood paneling that made up the walls of the cafeteria was probably original to the building, and in late 2011, it was still there. This was probably the only part of the building that looked fresh out of the ’80s.

This is a shot of the interior of CXO1/CXO2, back when events such as the “TechDay” would happen at this location. Notice how modern the facilities appear. HP did a good job keeping the building in good condition.

Source: StorageNerve

This was a nice guest area that HP had by the lower level of the CXO1/CXO2 building by the cafeteria on the lower level. It was used to greet guests, in this case bloggers, for events such as the one pictured above. In late 2011, before the building was vacated, this area was abandoned, but still intact.
Source: StorageNerve

This photo is of one of the labs in the CXO1/CXO2 building. My dad would often work in labs like these. They are full of storage arrays, such as the one in the picture after this one.

An EVA storage array as mentioned above.

Source: RayOnStorage Blog

This is a view of the main entrance of the CXO3 building, which is where what was left of CXO1/CXO2 was moved.

Source: HelloColoradoSprings.com

This is a picture of the inside of the data center that was built in 2009.

Source: ZDNet

South entrance of the CXO2 building. The parking lot has been blocked with cement barriers.

Source: Jared Stark

Although most of the demolition has been on the inside, some has already started on the outside. This gaping hole was the west entrance to the CXO2 part of the building.

Source: Jared Stark

These are the loading docs on the eastern side of the CXO1/CXO2 building. I imagine that they had more use when the building was a manufacturing facility. If you zoom into this picture, you can see that the garage door 8’s ID is 104OH1O1BX. Literally everything in this building had it’s own ID number, from all of the doors down to outlets and light switches. A little excessive, if you ask me…I can just imagine the maintenance calls and whatnot:

“Hey Bill…listen I got an outlet in CXO1 that needs to be replaced. I think it’s ID is CXO1AB34.”

Source: Jared Stark

This is the area directly behind the doors in the last picture. This is where office furniture, as well as other peripherals from the building, were sold. This are is the last remaining area of the building to have electricity that does not come from a generator.

Source: Jared Stark

This is another view of the last lit area of the CXO1/CXO2 building. Behind the wall to the right of the picture is an office with the last working outlets in the building, which power a laptop. Beyond the garage door is the, for the most-part, gutted building. Source: Jared Stark

This is the site of former HVAC units that have sense been removed.

Source: Jared Stark

This is another view of the area where the HVAC units used to be.

Source: Jared Stark

This window has been broken by demolition crews. Apparently, Compaq added these windows in when they owned the building.

Source: Jared Stark

Here is a view from the far corner of the CXO1/CXO2 east parking lot. You can see how far back it stretched.

Source: Jared Stark

This is a picture of the CXO1/CXO2 sign along the HP driveway road.

Source: Jared Stark

Getting a bit closer to the East Lobby…

Source: Jared Stark

A fence, as seen is previous pictures, guards the majority of the building’s perimeter. The windows have been removed on this portion of the building too.

Source: Jared Stark

This corner area of the building is where my dad used to work, both upstairs and downstairs.

Source: Jared Stark

End of original content






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