Colorado Mountain College ‘tops off’ new Spring Valley buildings |

Colorado Mountain College ‘tops off’ new Spring Valley buildings

Colorado Mountain College faculty and members of the public sign the final beam at the topping-off ceremony held at the Spring Valley campus on Thursday afternoon.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Two major new buildings are springing up at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus, on time and under budget, according to college officials.

During a “topping-off” ceremony Thursday, Spring Valley Vice President and Dean Heather Exby praised the work of the designers and contractors.

“This has been a project that began probably the day I started working here two-and-a-half years ago,” Exby said.

“Working with a tremendous construction crew who has kept this program on time, under budget and within the scope of this campus, I have felt very little stall or stop from our daily business,” Exby said.

Spring Valley staff, faculty, students and other community members attended the ceremony, which involved signing the final steel beam of the new fitness center and watching as it was installed by Haselden Construction builders.

Physical construction on the 34,000-square-foot fitness center at the eastern end of the campus began in September 2018. It is expected to be complete in late September this year.

When complete, the fitness center will have a full court and indoor track, which can be arranged to seat more than 950 people for graduation ceremonies. A 35-foot-high climbing wall accounts for the building’s towering structure, and the south-facing wall will have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Mount Sopris.

The Ascent Center is further along in construction, and will add 16,000 square feet of welcome-center area, lounges, classrooms and administrative offices. When it opens in June, it will become the front of the campus.

Students appear ready for construction to end, and look forward to using the new gym and classrooms.

“I’m excited because I’m ready for the track and the new weight-lifting room,” said 19-year-old Braden Markle, an outdoor education major.

“I’m not sure exactly what’s going to be in [the new gym], but I like how it looks. I’m excited to see how modern it’s going to be,” said outdoor education major Libby Needham, 19.

Students have had to live around the construction, but they are also excited for the new walkways and campus improvements.

Environmental science major Ashley Chambers said she looks forward to the new landscaping and sidewalks, and the large fireplace in the Ascent Center.

The two new buildings are built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “silver” standard. The roof of the fitness center is equipped to handle photovoltaic panels in the future, but it wasn’t part of the current construction budget.

The $19.2 million budget for construction on the two new buildings was sufficient, but Spring Valley has big plans to improve the existing Summit Student Center.

College planners have a wish list of improvements to the student center that may not fit within the $35 million the board approved in 2018 for all the campus improvements. The higher-priority items include retrofitting the old gym into a new kitchen and cafeteria, a new entrance and façade, and repairs to the roof.

But, with cost savings on furniture and clean construction on the new structures so far, the college appears in good shape to work on the student center later this year.

“Looking at the budget overall, we feel like we’ve had limited risk on the two new buildings,” Sean Nesbitt, director of facilities for all CMC campuses, said at the CMC board meeting Wednesday.

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