Because of successful fundraising efforts, a 286-seat auditorium will be constructed alongside the new academic facility at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus, which is scheduled to be completed in July 2012. Progress on the new facility was evident Sunday in the form of a newly paved parking lot that will allow crews to continue working during the winter.

Photo by Scott Franz

Because of successful fundraising efforts, a 286-seat auditorium will be constructed alongside the new academic facility at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus, which is scheduled to be completed in July 2012. Progress on the new facility was evident Sunday in the form of a newly paved parking lot that will allow crews to continue working during the winter.

Alpine Campus in Steamboat to add auditorium

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A webcam tracking the progress of the Alpine Campus’ new academic building can be viewed here.

— Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs next year will have a space where all of its residential students and full-time staff members can gather under one roof.

Alpine Campus Chief Executive Officer Peter Perhac on Wednesday announced the college had secured enough funding to build an approximately 286-seat auditorium that will connect to the campus’ new 60,000-square-foot academic facility, which is scheduled to be completed in July 2012.

The auditorium’s construction was dependent on the success of the CMC Foundation’s fundraising efforts before an Oct. 15 deadline. Despite coming up about $125,000 short of a $1.5 million goal before that date, Foundation CEO Matt Spencer said Sunday that he is confident the college’s fundraising arm will be able to raise the remaining balance.

“We were so close, and we identified many new dollar prospects along the way that made us feel comfortable to move forward,” Spencer said.

Spencer said the Foundation has raised nearly $1.4 million of the $2.7 million it hopes to collect before April 2013 during their capital campaign that launched in July. The majority of the remaining funds needed to construct the $18 million academic building in Steamboat will come from the college’s reserves.

“It has not been easy,” Spencer said about the first phase of fundraising. “Nothing is ever a sure bet. Some of our stronger donor prospects put us on hold because of the economic downturn and the market volatility we saw in August and September.”

But even in a tough economy, he said donors with connections to Steamboat’s Alpine Campus continue to contribute to its construction costs.

The lead gift for the Alpine Campus’ auditorium, which will feature retractable seats, came from Arthur E. Anderson, a Steamboat philanthropist who left $1.7 million to local charities after his death in 2000. Spencer said the foundation also received a pair of $250,000 donations from two families with connections to Steamboat.

He said the remaining dollars the Foundation aims to raise will help ensure Steamboat’s new academic facility is equipped with the latest technology and state of the art furniture and equipment.

Gathering place

Brian Hoza, dean of student affairs for the Alpine Campus, said Sunday that the new 3,000-square-foot auditorium will be no small addition to the 60,000-square-foot academic facility.

“It’s absolutely essential to our growth,” he said. “There is no other location on campus for our entire student body to have a full orientation, and we don’t have many places for all of our resident hall students to be able to meet together. This new space gives us a venue to hold campus wide gatherings and common lectures.”

He said the auditorium also will make it easier for CMC to form partnerships with community organizations that can utilize the public space.

Spencer said CMC already has had conversations with representatives from Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, the Steamboat Symphony and Emerald City Opera, among other groups, on how they might be able to utilize the new space.

“This building is going to give us an opportunity to really develop strong partnerships with various organizations within the community,” Spencer said.

Meanwhile, construction crews last week finished paving what will become the parking lot for the new facility, a development that will allow crews to continue working when snow starts to accumulate in Steamboat. Crews are expected to begin adding steel to the structure early next month.

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

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