Tour shows off new Edwards college campus features |

Tour shows off new Edwards college campus features

NWS CMC tour 1 KA 4-15-11

EDWARDS, Colorado – When Colorado Mountain College opened its Edwards campus in 2004, there were already plans to expand the school. But campus director Peggy Curry never imagined construction would start again less than a decade later.

“It sure filled up faster than I expected,” Curry said.

It didn’t take long for the new building at Edwards to fill, and not much longer for the place to be too small for the programs provided and the students who wanted them. So – using cash from savings – work started last year on an addition that will roughly double the size of the building. But beyond just more space, this addition promises new ways to make burgeoning programs more effective, and set up the school to become more of a true campus and community meeting place.

Curry and other college officials, along with project architect Jon Keiser of TAB Associates, led a tour of the new space Friday.

Along with the new construction, there have already been improvements to the existing building – walls have come down to make bigger classrooms, and the very popular dance studios have been expanded, too. The new building will provide a student center space, one that’s deliberately being left with plenty of echo, so people sense a vibrant place past the public entrance on the east side.

There’s a new language lab with small studio rooms so students aren’t bothered by other students practicing speech, and a lecture hall with bleacher-type seats that can transform an 80-seat lecture hall into a room for art exhibits or other classes that need a bit more floor space.

But the building’s new skills are really on display in the area for firefighter, ambulance-crew and nursing students.

The fire science room has garage doors big enough to back in two fire trucks. There will be simulated sprinkler systems, that allow students to trouble-shoot sprinklers before finding them in the field. There are places to connect hoses to water fixtures, and, outside, students will be able to do live-fire training.

Students in the emergency medical services, or EMS, programs, will train in rooms that can mimic offices, bedrooms or hospital rooms. Those rooms can be filled with fog, so students can learn about maneuvering around tight spaces in fires. Simulated hospital rooms will have a full complement of equipment around the beds, so students will know where things like oxygen hoses and sensor plug-ins are located.

All of those rooms will have “sim-man” dummy patients.

Students learning to work on ambulances will also have a full-sized ambulance to work in. The college found a retired ambulance in Nebraska, and brought the business end of the vehicle back to Edwards. The back of the ambulance is already in one wall, but the side panels have been cut out, and can be removed and updated as needed.

Culinary students will have a small kitchen, as well as a greenhouse to grow their own vegetables and herbs.

And, while no one really knows how long it will take for the new programs to fill, college public information officer Debra Crawford said history shows that new facilities tend to draw new students.

And what the college offers may be a big part of the future of higher education, Curry said. Especially since Colorado Mountain College is just starting to offer four-year degrees to students.

“What we’re seeing is that four-year degrees at community colleges are real-world degrees,” Curry said.

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