Colorado Mountain College Alpine Campus CEO Peter Perhac, left, and CMC President Stan Jensen stand Thursday in front of the construction site of the Alpine Campus’ new academic and administrative building, which broke ground last month. CMC has launched a fundraising campaign for the building.

Photo by Scott Franz

Colorado Mountain College Alpine Campus CEO Peter Perhac, left, and CMC President Stan Jensen stand Thursday in front of the construction site of the Alpine Campus’ new academic and administrative building, which broke ground last month. CMC has launched a fundraising campaign for the building.

CMC launches fundraising campaign in Steamboat

Foundation aims to raise $1.5 million for new building

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— As he watched bulldozers and trucks move dirt around the foundation of a new academic building at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus on Thursday, campus CEO Peter Perhac said he still expected to see Monson Hall instead of the construction site.

“But I don’t see it anymore,” he said. “The whole perspective of this campus is changing. I can’t wait to see the new building fit in with Bristol Hall because it will have a very dramatic effect on this community.”

He said it was time for the campus to “cascade down” into Steamboat Springs, and he hopes the construction of a $20 million, 58,000-square-foot academic facility overlooking Howelsen Hill will help accomplish just that.

In addition to new classrooms and administrative offices, the Alpine Campus’ new building, which is expected to be completed by July 2012, will include a cafe and other public areas that are easily accessible to the community.

Now the college is working to pay for it all.

CMC officials announced last week that they had initiated the first capital campaign for the campus in Steamboat that graduated more than 100 students in the spring.

The fundraising campaign, which is being spearheaded by the CMC Foundation, aims to raise $1.5 million by Oct. 15, and has collected more than $100,000 from local individuals and philanthropic groups this month.

After the deadline, the college will examine whether fundraising has been strong enough to sustain an auditorium and a foyer included in the construction project.

The foundation put more than $400,000 toward the construction of the building from funds it received from Arthur E. Anderson, a Steamboat Springs man who left $1.7 million to local charities after his death in 2000.

“At this early stage of the campaign, we are encouraged and inspired by the response we’ve been given,” CMC Foundation CEO Matt Spencer said.

Spencer and other CMC executives met Thursday with the Gates Family Foundation, of Denver, one of two foundations the college is seeking a grant from for the building project in Steamboat.

“Of all the philanthropic efforts we have going on, (the Alpine Campus) is on the top of our list in terms of urgency and the amount we need to raise,” Spencer said.

College officials also will meet with Colorado’s El Pomar Foundation to make their case for a grant.

A tough economy

CMC President Stan Jensen said that although the fundraising campaign is being launched in a tough economic climate, he thinks it will be successful and that the new academic building project at the Alpine Campus will be a boon for the Yampa Valley economy.

“The economy is what it is,” he said as he watched work being done at the Alpine Campus from a balcony outside the library. “We’re going to thrive and hopefully we’re going to be seeing the commitment we’re making in this community help spark a piece of the pie in this recovery.”

CMC is calling its fundraising initiative “The Campaign to Sustain the Miracle on a Mountain,” which alludes to Lucile Bogue’s founding of Yampa Valley College that became the Alpine Campus in 1982. The majority of the remaining funding for the $22.9 million construction project will come from college reserves.

“The next step is continuing to move dirt and poor cement and raise money to fill the last gap,” Jensen said.

— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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