GLENWOOD SPRINGS - Colorado Mountain College is poised to extend tuition waivers and health benefits to domestic partners of full-time college employees.
CMC President Stan Jensen said the college board of trustees "expressed their support" for domestic partner benefits at their Nov. 5 meeting in Edwards.
Domestic partnership offers rights similar to marriage for same-sex couples and for unmarried heterosexual couples.
The concept has legal status in some states and countries, and has become a controversial flash point in U.S. politics in recent years as part of the battle over gay rights.
Jensen said formal, final action on domestic partner benefits was tabled until January to give the college's insurance carrier, United Health Care, more time to come up with criteria establishing the definition of domestic partner.
Other schools offering benefits to domestic partners in Colorado include Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado.
In other trustee action, Jensen reported that the school has a prospective buyer of its old administration building at 831 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs.
Westbrook Development Partners of Denver has tendered an offer for the building, and the trustees directed Jensen to make a counter-offer. Negotiations are not over price, Jensen said, but for changes in the conditions of sale as proposed by Westbrook.
According to a letter of support for the deal from Leslie Bethel, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, Westbrook's redevelopment of the building calls for a restaurant on the ground floor, with work space for entrepreneurs and possibly retail sales outlets to balance out the tenants.
The two-story building has been owned by CMC since 1987 when it was donated as a gift by the Delaney and Balcomb families, according to CMC spokeswoman Debbie Crawford. It was dedicated in 1994 as the Michelle Balcomb Building, recognizing Michelle Balcomb's service as a trustee of the college.
For decades before that, the space had housed a Ben Franklin store, with a classic soda fountain on the ground floor.