CMC announces $40M affordable housing project sited at four campus locations |

CMC announces $40M affordable housing project sited at four campus locations

President says housing scarcity throughout High Country is compromising college’s operations

An aerial view of the proposed location for Colorado Mountain College’s student housing project, located next to the college's Breckenridge campus, June 21, 2021.
Photo by Ashley Low

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees approved $40 million in certificates of participation to build approximately 150 total affordable-housing units at four campuses.

Between 35 to 40 units will be constructed on CMC-owned land in Steamboat Springs, Vail Valley at Edwards, Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs and Breckenridge & Dillon, CMC President Carrie Hauser said.

Hauser said the affordable-housing projects will be modeled after the apartment-style housing units the college built in Breckenridge for upper division students.

“These projects will mirror in several ways what we did in Breckenridge,” Hauser said during a Tuesday news conference at the Spring Valley campus. “Those units have been at 95% capacity. They’re of a size that is a good starting place for us.”

Hauser said housing scarcity throughout Colorado’s High Country is compromising the college’s operations, exemplifying the housing crisis overall impact.

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“We’ve had a number of situations where we’ve offered jobs to people, and they’ve accepted, then they try to find a place to live and you know the story — they end up not being able to fulfill that role,” Hauser said.

After completing their first year of living on campus, students are forced to drop out and leave the community because they cannot find housing.

Hauser said the planned affordable-housing projects, which are expected to be completed by 2023, would require 12-month lease agreements.

“We understand, especially in these mountain resort communities, that to not have year-round leases means a lot of our students lose their housing in April if they’re working for the ski areas,” Hauser explained. “So, there’s this gap for them to finish the program.”

CMC’s bachelor’s degree tuition is the lowest in Colorado, with tuition and fees costing $2,500 for an in-district student enrolled in 30 credit hours and $5,500 for in-state students.

Approximately 15,000 students are enrolled throughout CMC’s 11 campuses.

“The college is prepared to lean in and contribute to providing additional inventory. All these projects will be designed in a way that they can be added on into the future,” Hauser said.

“These four locations are where we have land to offer for these projects so we don’t have to go out to find land or deal with zoning. This gives us some control to chart our best interests.”

CMC Trustee Chris Romer, of Eagle County, said the housing shortage is a challenge that all community campuses are experiencing.

“This is something that we need to do in order to set this organization to achieve its goals as we move forward to achieve our strategic plan,” Romer said. “Everything in that plan is centered around student success.”

Romer, who is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, said that like any other business or organization, it all comes down to housing.

“Housing is the key foundational challenge facing our mountain communities, and we need to provide those affordable opportunities to our students to set them up for success,” he said.

CMC Trustee Marianne Virgili, of Garfield County, spoke about her 32 years of service as the retired CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association where she participated in many tax initiatives.

“What I came to realize is it’s a beautiful thing when a tax-supported entity goes back and invests in the community,” Virgili said. “This is land that the college owns. It’s also land, particularly in the Roaring Fork Valley, Spring Valley campus is not in the heart of the congestion of Glenwood Springs or Carbondale.”

Tuition and Fees for one year; 30 credit hours:

CMC In-District: $2,500

CMC In-State: $5,500

Colorado Mesa University: $9,306

Western Colorado University: $10,437

University of Colorado – Boulder: $12,500

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