Colorado Mountain College board race contested

Routt County CMC board candidates seek role in Alpine Campus expansion


Election 2011

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— The two Steamboat Springs residents who are vying to fill Routt County’s open seat on Colorado Mountain College’s board of trustees said this week that they would like to play a role in the Alpine Campus’ expansion toward Lincoln Avenue.

This November, CMC adjunct faculty member and former Steamboat Springs City Council member Ken Brenner will face design-build contractor John Fielding to fill one of four seats up for election on the seven-member board.

Routt County’s election winner will take the place of former Steamboat Superintendent Shalee Cunningham, who served on the board of trustees for two years until she left earlier this summer to take another superintendent position in California.

Brenner said Thursday that he would bring valuable experience that stems from his time on the City Council.


Ken Brenner

“One of the things that makes a board effective is a balance of different skill sets,” he said. “My strength comes in my knowledge of local government and how we can continue to support economic development locally.”

Brenner also serves as an adjunct faculty member at CMC and teaches circuit-training fitness classes. He said he would like to continue playing a role in the college’s growth in Steamboat.

“CMC plays a very important role in the local economy, and I was really excited for the CMC system when they received their four-year (degree) designation and decided to expand their campus,” Brenner said. “We’ve seen the CMC of the past, and we’re at a crossroads now with the bachelor’s degree program. I think the college is moving in a positive direction.”

Fielding, Brenner’s opponent, said Wednesday that his house’s close proximity to Bob Adams Drive gives him a perspective that would be valuable to the CMC board as it continues making decisions that will impact the Alpine Campus.

“I’m a next-door neighbor (of the college), and I have long felt the impacts of the campus on my community, both positive and negative,” Fielding said.


John Fielding

Fielding, who has a daughter who graduated from the college and a wife who works there as an adjunct professor, said he would like to help make decisions related to the campus’ expansion.

“CMC is planning an aggressive growth policy, and that is something the Steamboat community is very excited about,” he said. “Whoever fills that seat ought to be aware of the city’s planning process, both long term and short term, and stay closely involved with the mood of the neighborhood around the college.”

In October, Fielding distributed a petition supporting the expansion of the Alpine Campus and asked the city to endorse a proposal to construct a secondary access road at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue.

CMC’s board of trustees has made a number of significant decisions that have changed the college’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs dramatically. Trustees worked with CMC President Stan Jensen to initiate the college’s first bachelor’s degree program, which launched last week. They also approved the expansion of the Alpine Campus.

Meanwhile, construction on the Alpine Campus’ new academic and administrative facility continues. Campus CEO Peter Perhac said Wednesday that crews are placing the forms for the cement foundation, and he is hopeful they will begin pouring the foundation by the first week of October.

— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email


chickadee 5 years, 6 months ago

Please do not take this as disrespct toward the candidates, but c'mon....

Could we please have more information as to the academic background of these two candidates?

Maybe I read this too fast, but doesn't the race really come down to this: We have one guy who is a glorified P.E. teacher (probably wears a whistle around his neck and polyester gym teacher shorts) who likes to run for office. Any office. We have another guy who is interested because he lives within close proximity (old town Green Acres) of the Steamboat Springs Campus.

I am surprised that we can cull no candidate with an Ed.D., Ph.D, or otherwise some distinguished academic background. This is education we are talking about. Not goats. Not dodgeball.

Should the "mood of the neighborhood" within proximity of this branch of CMC really carry significant weight in decisions made by a member of the Board of Trustees?

I would not vote for anyone who uses the words "skill set" or any other cliche' from a ten year old Dilbert comic strip. Gimme a break....

Alas, who cares what I think? And who really cares about CMC. I mean, really--its not like its M.I.T. and it is kind of nice that they offer weight training, pilates, square dancing, scrap booking, cake decorating and basket wearing classes for the community not to mention a pseudo raison d'etre/ educational parking lot for early 20 something pot smoking snowboarders.

If educational background is no pre-requisite for office, I would rather see one of those local brown shirt meatheads run for Board of Trustees and clear that campus once and for all of underage alcohol consumtion and illegal use of controlled substances.

That would be a good start.


rhys jones 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey, give the "pot smoking snowboarders" a break -- they probably came here to pursue the new "sustainability" degree. That's the one where you can't DO anything about it, not knowing engineering, physics, math, or chemistry, but you can sure talk a good line. That's the new buzz word, and people will throw money at you just for saying it. Ask YVSC or YVR. And good luck stopping drinking or drugs, on ANY campus.


chickadee 5 years, 6 months ago

@ Rhys: Have you ever been on Campus at Wellesley College, Notre Dame, BYU or the US Air Force Academy? Those students are most definitely not drinking and smoking weed one the dime of their parents.

On the other hand, granted, there are Universities such as Michigan and Penn State that have a rate of binge drinking and relatively high rate of drug use, but are still top ranked schools.


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