Senate committee advances bill for 4-year programs
The state Senate Education Committee voted, 7-1, last week to send a bill to the Senate floor that would allow Colorado Mountain College to offer some four-year degree programs.
CMC has seven campuses in north-central Colorado.
“One of the main advantages that it provides to our district and our communities is much improved access to higher education for rural Colorado, especially to students who are somewhat place-bound,” CMC President Stan Jensen said last week.
Alpine campus officials have said the four-year degree programs that might work best in Steamboat Springs are resort management, business and teacher education. But the college hasn’t determined what programs will be offered where.
Steamboat Springs Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus will stay put, the Board of Trustees decided after a discussion during a special teleconference meeting Friday.
CMC President Stan Jensen told Alpine Campus employees in a Feb. 1 e-mail that trustees would consider whether it would be economically and technically feasible to relocate the campus from Bob Adams Drive to another spot in Steamboat Springs.
“Looking at the cost and the site restrictions and technical challenges of replacing buildings at our current location, the board felt it was prudent to thoroughly examine all options,” Jensen wrote in the e-mail. “We want to make sure we’re making the best long-term decision for the campus, the college, our students and our taxpayers.”
Jensen said last week that it was a logical time for the college to consider a move given the college-wide master plan that’s currently in its third phase. That plan includes constructing a $20 million, 40,000-square-foot geoexchange facility on the Alpine Campus.
It likely would replace the 40-year-old Bogue, Monson and Willett halls.
Retrofitting the existing Bristol Hall with geoexchange, which uses water to heat and cool buildings, and adding a new access road to the campus are included in the project’s costs.
Limited space for campus expansions in the future and other site issues led the college to explore relocation, Jensen said.
CMC had not identified a new site for the campus, but it estimated that it would cost about $118 million, not including what the college would recoup from the sale, Jensen said.
Jensen said Monday that after the discussion during Friday’s teleconference, trustees decided the Bob Adams Drive location was an ideal site because of its access to Steamboat, already completed planning for the new facility, future growth possibilities and the cost to move the campus.
“All of those kinds of things factored in,” he said.
With the decision to remain on Bob Adams Drive, Jensen said CMC would move forward with its plans for the new facility, despite not getting a grant that would help make the college a leader in teaching geoexchange technology.
The college had applied for a $5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant that it would have split with the Colorado School of Mines to teach geoexchange technology using the new facility as a demonstration site. Jensen said that would be delayed, but the college was pursuing other grant opportunities.
The first step in building the new facility is constructing the access road, which could happen late this summer, CMC Facilities Director Sam Skramstad said. He said two locations have been identified, from 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue and Crawford Avenue from 12th Street. Skramstad said 13th and Lincoln was the preference but that both options would affect residents.
Skramstad said the bidding process for the design of the facility would start this week. He said CMC hopes to break ground in summer 2011 with occupation in fall 2012. The intention is to build a facility that uses geoexchange and has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification of at least silver.
But Skramstad said the site makes it difficult for that type of technology to be implemented in the new facility and to retrofit Bristol Hall.
He said that a vertical-well system might not work because of the natural hot springs and that limited acreage could make it difficult to employ a horizontal-loop field.
“Geoexchange is going to be a challenge on that site, but we are pursuing it because it gives us the best return on our investment in terms of energy costs,” Skramstad said.
College officials haven’t determined what would be located in the building. Possibilities include: a main entry hub; offices for administration, student affairs, registration and admission; a 300-seat assembly hall auditorium; a bookstore and cyber cafe; a dining hall; a student union; a learning lab; a wellness center; and classrooms for ski business, outdoor studies, resort management, emergency medical training, culinary arts, art, wellness and martial arts.
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