To Michelle Marx, a librarian at Colorado Mountain College, the new campus building in Edwards means a room with a view.
“I’m excited about the change,” said Marx, who currently works in a basement office at the Vail-Cascade campus. “I’m getting an office on the second floor with a window.”
Eagle County CMC students this fall will begin classes in the new 30,000-square-foot building in Edwards, which offers among other things, classrooms with 180-degree views, a science lab, and a one minute-walk to the new pond that is being built at Berry Creek.
Classes at the Vail-Eagle Valley Campus at Berry Creek will begin Aug. 23.
The $7 million campus will replace the one in Vail and a smaller one in Edwards. Peggy Curry, dean of the Vail-Eagle Valley campus, said it’s uncertain what will happen with the campus in Eagle. Although students attending the Eagle center have doubled in the last five years, college authorities were considering closing it to concentrate classes at the new Edwards campus.
“All staff will be moving to Edwards. But I would like to keep the Eagle campus open for night and morning classes,” Curry said.
The Edwards campus – where new additions include a science lab, bigger classrooms with lots of natural light and views of the mountains, a study room and lounge area – will be home to about 3,000 full- and part-time students, an administrative staff of 20 and 100 teachers.
“This is what we are most excited about,” said Curry of the new science lab, while touring the building with college employees this week. “We never had one before.”
Chemistry, biology, physics and astronomy classes will be held in the science lab. Currently, CMC students take these classes in high school labs in the evenings, Curry said.
“Most of our students who take science classes are nursing students,” said T. Herbst, a division director for CMC, who teaches math. “This lab will allow students to take day classes.”
The campus also includes a roomy dance studio, a ceramic studio with a new kiln and spacious and bright faculty offices.
“In Vail you could hear the movies next door,” said Sara Gregg, a division director who supervises developmental studies. The Vail campus, which CMC has for sale, is next door to the Cascade movie theater. “The other advantage is that communication will improve because we will all be integrated in one place.
“What I love is that the ceramic and art studios have lots of storage and locker space,” she added.
Another highlight of the campus is an interactive video-system classroom, where students from different campuses can be linked to a single instructor.
“If we have just a few students in one class, we can link them to an instructor in another location,” Curry said. “We need eight students in a class to break even.”
One of Curry’s favorite spots, she said, is the study room, next to the lounge and vending areas. “There will be six computers there so students don’t have to wait at the computer room,” Curry said. In addition, the lounge area has several computer ports.
Because college officials had to reduce the original square footage for the building, the new campus doesn’t have a cafeteria. “Students can go to Marko’s or Fiesta’s,” Curry said with a smile. “We had to make a decision, we couldn’t have it all.”
The college also hopes to have high school juniors and seniors take college-level classes, Curry said, adding she expects the new campus will drive up CMC’s enrollment.
“It gives a little bit more of status to the college,” she said. “We will try hard to accommodate the community. We might even increase our Saturday schedule.”
Public school teachers to enroll at CMC
Eagle County and Eagle County School District employees will receive hundreds of hours of free instruction at the new Colorado Mountain College Campus in Edwards.
Both the school district and the county will receive up to 200 hours of instruction per academic year for up to 50 years as part of the deal to build the new campus. The county and the school district donated eight acres each at Berry Creek for the new CMC Vail-Eagle Valley campus.
“This is a real partnership,” said County Commissioner Tom Stone, one of the planners of the Berry Creek project in Edwards. The new CMC campus is part of the development of Berry Creek, which includes affordable housing, ballfields, a pond and a community center. “The story behind the new campus is the collaboration of the college, the school district and the county, which has created a win-win situation.
“The county wins because a better educated workforce will serve the county better,” Stone added.
To get the land from the county and the school district, CMC also contributed $800,000 to help build Miller Ranch Road, the main artery at Berry Creek, and the new Miller Ranch Road bridge.
“This is a wonderful partnership,” said Eagle County School District Superintendent John Brendza. “Anytime, a school district has an opportunity to partner with higher education it provides a whole bunch of opportunities.”
Brendza said he expected both high school students and school district employees to take courses through CMC. “There are some wonderful avenues to explore,” Brendza said.
– Veronica Whitney
The new Edwards campus
– 30,000 square-foot building
– 22 classrooms, including a dance studio, science lab, three computer labs, and a ceramics studio and kiln.
– At least one classroom will be a “smart classroom,” with Internet and computer projectors, a document camera that can display any type of document on a large screen and a white board that translates handwritten notes and diagrams directly into popular software programs.
– There also will be offices for faculty and staff, and a multi-function community room for scheduled public use.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.