Steamboat Springs Colorado Mountain College and the city of Steamboat Springs have discussed dissolving the intergovernmental agreement that was signed between the entities in 1997, CMC and city officials said Tuesday.
The agreement requires that CMC build a secondary access road for fire and emergency services if the college wants to expand or renovate on the campus in Steamboat Springs.
CMC has proposed to build a 50,000-square-foot administrative and classroom facility using geoexchange heating and cooling technology at the campus off Bob Adams Drive.
The Steamboat Springs City Council and members of the public expressed concerns at a Sept. 7 meeting with the location of the proposed access road at 13th Street. Those included traffic congestion, encroachment on Iron Springs and West Lincoln parks and the impact to the hillside leading up to the campus.
CMC President Stan Jensen has expressed frustration with the process to build the access road, which the college didn’t want to do.
He said CMC doesn’t have an intergovernmental agreement with any other municipality where it has a campus. Jensen said the college is required to follow state regulations when developing its campuses but isn’t bound to city requirements. He said CMC voluntarily entered into an agreement with the city.
Jensen said college and city officials discussed dissolution of the agreement at a recent meeting. The action would require approval from CMC’s Board of Trustees and the City Council.
At this point, Jensen said the agreement has outlived its purpose and is a deterrent.
City Manager Jon Roberts didn’t necessarily disagree. He said city staff had already had preliminary discussions and would take the issue to the City Council. He said several of the agreement’s requirements, such as building a residence hall, have been completed.
“We’re kind of looking at it like is there really a benefit to keep it in place,” Roberts said.
Despite the possible dissolution of the agreement, CMC still is planning a secondary access road.
Jensen said the college again is looking at the Crawford Avenue spur, which was designed as a temporary secondary fire and emergency services access from 12th Street.
Jensen said the secondary access road at the Crawford spur would be 20 to 24 feet wide and wouldn’t encroach on neighboring residential property because the city has 60 feet of right-of-way there.
“It’s a lot less invasive to the neighborhood. It’s a lot less invasive to the hillside. And of course, it’s a lot less costly,” Jensen said, alluding to the proposed 13th Street secondary access, for which construction costs had risen to an estimated $8 million. “Either way, it will serve the community a lot better, and it will serve the college in terms of safety and access.”
CMC previously had preferred the 13th Street site because it provided access from Lincoln Avenue and would become a visible, primary access to the college.
However, until the college makes a decision, Jensen said it still is considering other options, which include locating the new geoexchange facility somewhere else in Steamboat or just outside city limits.
Should the Crawford spur be the choice for the road, Jensen said the college would like to break ground next spring. He said there was no timeline for construction of the facility.
CMC trustees are scheduled to consider Monday whether to dissolve the agreement. Roberts said he would present the issue at the Nov. 2 City Council meeting.