CMC calls off Iron Horse talks
College ends rental discussions in face of declining enrollment, potential staffing costs
April 28, 2009
Steamboat Springs — Facing a declining enrollment for the upcoming fall semester, Colorado Mountain College officials called off a potential deal with the city of Steamboat Springs to rent the Iron Horse Inn for additional student housing.
Although the deal appeared imminent two weeks ago, CMC officials announced Monday that they no longer will pursue discussions with the city and instead will use the dorms on CMC’s Alpine Campus for another year. The dorms routinely have filled to capacity the past several years, and officials said they expect to turn students away again in the fall semester.
“We had been hoping to lease part of the Iron Horse Inn from the city of Steamboat Springs for our students’ use for next year,” Lin Stickler, a system-wide executive vice president at CMC’s district offices, said in a news release. “But unfortunately, as we’ve closely examined the bottom line, it doesn’t make financial sense for us to continue to pursue this at this time. We just can’t make the numbers or staffing levels work.”
Stickler said the campus has 18 percent fewer applications for the fall semester at the Alpine campus than at the same time last year. Based on those numbers, the college would have been unable to fill the 25 rooms at the Iron Horse, she said.
City Facilities Manager Bob Robichaud said he received a call from CMC officials Monday and that after a discussion about the feasibility of going forward with the agreement, it was decided to stop all negotiations.
“It was a little bit of a surprise to me because we both know what’s happening with the economy, but generally when the economy slow down, education speeds up,” he said. “But in this economy, nothing really surprises me.”
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The city put out a request for proposals for redevelopment of the Iron Horse site, which could mean a redevelopment of the area.
“We are looking to turn it into affordable housing, and we would probably save the newer of the two buildings, the 1992-vintage one, and we would probably demolish the 1968-vintage one to build something more appropriate for the site,” Robichaud said.
Robichaud said the city also might revisit the management agreement with Resort Group, which was canceled in February by Mountain Resorts Realty, a division of Resort Group.
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