CMC board mulling Silt, Rifle
Both Silt and Rifle remain in the running for a new Colorado Mountain College campus to replace the existing site on Railroad Avenue in Rifle.CMC’s board of trustees unanimously narrowed its choices to two locations out of four at its meeting Monday afternoon.The college wants to relocate the campus from Railroad Avenue, where it has been for the past 20 years, because of the aging building and a growing student population.Criteria for a desirable site include accessibility and visibility from Interstate 70, the proximity of utilities and services, the size of the land and the availability of public transportation.”I think what we’re looking at are two sites that would work for a new campus,” said Pam Arsenault, dean of the Rifle campus. “South Rifle is the most central to our service area, and Silt has the best access and visibility.”The sites were chosen from among proposals that also included one in Battlement Mesa and one on Highway 6 in Rifle. The south Rifle site near Airport Road, which includes nearly 13 acres landowner Bob Howard offered, is under consideration because of its proximity to city services, the ability to expand and its location near a large population density.The site Silt is offering is on 12 acres west of the Ferguson Crossing development, north of the Colorado River and south of Interstate 70. The benefits include existing utilities, visibility, a two-mile distance from the new Coal Ridge High School, potential for public transportation and the town’s offer to waive the water-tap fee.While the 10-acre Battlement Mesa site is the quietest and has great views, it is not central to CMC’s service area, has no public transportation nearby and serves a low population density.Concerns about the Highway 6 location in Rifle include that it had no utilities available and it borders the railroad and poses safety concerns. The site stored tailings from a uranium mill before a federal government cleanup.CMC staff, faculty and an advisory group evaluated the sites before the presentation to the board.CMC trustees, from Garfield, Pitkin, Lake, Summit, Routt and Eagle counties, agreed to postpone their decision until their next meeting pending a visit to the Silt site and additional input from CMC students.”I would like to have us continue the momentum of moving ahead,” said CMC president Bob Spuhler. “We will probably continue to get some offers in. But I would like to thank the number of people who have really come forward to work with us on trying to come up with the best place for the western Garfield County campus.”
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Sitting at the base of Sunlight Mountain, Larry Strohmeyer pictures a perfect day for skiing — a warm, spring day with a bluebird sky and a fresh layer of powder covering the slopes.