CMC Rifle campus plans to be ready for first day of classes on Sept. 10 |

CMC Rifle campus plans to be ready for first day of classes on Sept. 10

John GardnerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/John Gardner

RIFLE Walking through the hallways of Colorado Mountain College’s new West Garfield County campus in Rifle, you might think there’s still a lot of work to do before students fill the classrooms on Sept. 10. You’d be right, too.There is a lot of work left to be done, but that doesn’t concern campus Dean Pam Arsenault.”Come by on September 10th, and we’ll be open at eight in the morning,” she said with a confident grin. “We will have classes that Monday.”The facility has been in the works for more than two years and has quickly come together for the college. It will allow not only a better – state-of-the-art – learning environment, but will also allow for growth of student populations as well.”We’ve gone from a mom and pop shop to a big box,” Arsenault joked. “This is a facility that will allow us to provide the quality education that we can to better prepare the students for a four-year university.”

Last year the Rifle CMC campus on Railroad Avenue in Rifle, had approximately 2,495 enrolled students. But not all attended class at the Rifle campus. Some studied at locations like Rifle High School and Rifle Middle School and another facility in Parachute. On top of that there was an additional 980 students in the energy industry training program, according to Arsenault.”This new facility is going to allow us to bring all of our programs together at the one facility,” Arsenault said.The new facility will accommodate that population very well with 17 classrooms, each with a capacity to accommodate up to 24 students. The old facility, at around 28,000 square feet of space, had only 11 “instructional” rooms, according to Arsenault. The new room is enough for an additional 500 students, Arsenault estimated.”We thought about that when we were designing this building,” Arsenault said. “I spoke with the president (Bob Spuhler), and he said to me, ‘We don’t want to outgrow this facility in a couple of years.'”The retiring campus belongs to Garfield School District Re-2, which has rented the building to CMC for $1 a month since 1981, Arsenault recalled. The new facility is around 34,000 square feet – not a whole lot bigger but better planned.”It’s not that different in regards to space, but the space we have now is all usable space,” Arsenault said.

Additions to the new facility included a new industrial classroom, a fine arts facility including an outdoor kiln yard, a new science lab to accommodate chemistry and biology, and the new occupational safety and health program. Amenities also include a fitness center, meeting rooms that the community can utilize, a student lounge and patio and a 300-seat auditorium.”We’re going to be able to do things a little differently now,” Arsenault said. “We wanted to be able to keep class sizes down, and we will be able to do that. But it will also allow for us to expand what classes we offer with the new available space.”Cost for the new facility is $12.4 million, about double the initial cost when plans began more than two years ago. But donations of $1 million from Williams Energy for the technology wing and $3 million from EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) really got the hammers swinging.”Those donations really allowed us to move forward with construction,” Arsenault said.Also helping make the new campus possible were taxpayer contributions totalling $5.35 million, the initial 13-acre land donation from Airport Land Partners and contributions from several other donors.Although CMC has 11 sites on seven campuses and serves an area of 12,000 square miles in north-central Colorado, Arsenault contended that this new facility is going to be very cool.

“It’s not the whole (CMC) show,” she said. “But It may just be the best.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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