Colorado Mountain College board race contested | SteamboatToday.com

Colorado Mountain College board race contested

Routt County CMC board candidates seek role in Alpine Campus expansion

Ken Brenner

— 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.

"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.

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 scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com