CMC weighing options for future of Glenwood Center, other facilities, but decisions still a ways off
Public process in the works before any determinations made
Colorado Mountain College is “not selling or closing” its Glenwood Center on Blake Avenue anytime soon, contrary to recent rumors on social media, according to a statement issued by college officials.
But, the college is entering “exploratory discussions” to determine the future of that and other Roaring Fork Valley facilities — including opportunities for public involvement in that decision-making — as part of its ongoing facilities review process.
“As part of CMC’s ongoing commitment to its many communities, students, employee and taxpayers, the college regularly evaluates the most efficient use of all of its facilities,” CMC said in a statement posted Friday to the college website.
While the Glenwood Center is on the table for discussion along with other facilities from Aspen to Rifle, it is not imminently closing or being sold, college officials said.
CMC also “remains committed” to the programs currently housed there, including the CMC Mini College preschool, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and its numerous English as a second language, adult, and continuing education classes, the college said in its statement.
Supporters of those and other programs have been inquiring about CMC’s intentions, especially after it went out on social media recently that decisions had already been made.
The future of the Glenwood Center was on the agenda for discussion at the CMC Board of Trustees July 29 meeting, but the conversation was short and no action was taken.
“In the five years I’ve been on this board, there have not been major capital improvements or change in buildings and campuses without considerable research and considerable community input,” CMC Board President Patricia Theobald commented during that meeting.
That process is just beginning with regards to the Glenwood Center and other facilities, Matt Gianneschi, chief operating officer for CMC, said at the time.
“At this time, we are engaging with faculty and staff, reviewing data on student enrollments and programs, and exploring options and alternatives across the Roaring Fork Valley, Rifle to Aspen,” he said.
The process is also to include general community outreach, as well as outreach to students and the college’s various community partners, Gianneschi said. No specific dates have been set for that process to begin, he said.
The unexpected departure of US Bank from CMC’s building at 802 Grand Ave. in downtown Glenwood Springs, and reshuffling of the Glenwood Chamber Resort Association’s offices in that facility, have presented some different options for CMC, Gianneschi also said.
CMC’s Central Services are located in that building, which is now attached to the recently completed Morgridge Commons space above the Glenwood Springs Library at the corner of Eighth and Cooper. With the recent office shuffling and bank closure, it opens up nearly 25,000 square feet of usable space, Gianneschi said.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic closed CMC’s buildings to in-person operations in the spring, the Glenwood Center was lightly used outside of the regularly scheduled evening courses, the college noted in its statement.
“Meanwhile, partner organizations in need of support were looking for options to better serve the community during difficult financial times,” according to the statement.
Among them is Yampah Mountain High School, the alternative high school operated in Glenwood Springs through the Board of Cooperative Education Services and serving students from four area school districts. Many of those students go on to graduate and enroll at CMC, the college also said.
“Given this alignment of missions, we have invited discussions about how to better use CMC’s physical assets to enhance the education of all residents in the region,” the statement read.
In addition to the three CMC buildings operated in Glenwood Springs city limits, the college also just invested more than $35 million at the Spring Valley campus south of the city.
And, CMC’s accrediting body does not permit students to fully earn degrees at the Glenwood Center or the Lappala Center in Carbondale, further limiting use of those facilities, the college also pointed out in its statement.
Students seeking full certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree programs are assigned to the Spring Valley, Aspen or Rifle campuses.
Before any land-use decisions or transaction decisions are made about the future of the Glenwood Center or any other facilities, the CMC Board of Trustees is also required to conduct an extensive, three-step review, Gianneschi said.
“These steps involve a significant amount of work from college staff and attorneys,” he said. “In most cases, this process can take six months to a year or more to execute an agreement. Throughout the process, the college and the board actively solicit public input.”
Anyone wishing to comment directly about the Glenwood Center can send them via email to: Glenwoodcenter@coloradomtn.edu.
Post Independent Editor Peter Baumann contributed to this report.
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