CMC board OKs lease-option for Cooper Commons space |

CMC board OKs lease-option for Cooper Commons space

Colorado Mountain College student Kimberly Vega helps give perspective to the 13,000-square-foot empty space on the second level of the Cooper Commons building that will be transformed into a flexible, multi-use community facility.
Doug Stewart | CMC

Colorado Mountain College trustees have finalized a lease-option agreement with the Garfield County Library District that paves the way to build out the upstairs Cooper Commons space in Glenwood Springs.

The CMC board, meeting in Steamboat Springs on Thursday, gave final approval to the agreement for the college to eventually pay $226,400 for the 1,435-square-foot unfinished space located above the Glenwood Springs Branch Library at 815 Cooper Ave.

The area was envisioned as a shared-use space between the library and the college when the building was completed in 2013 as one of several tax-funded library expansions and new facilities from Parachute to Carbondale.

Last April, a joint effort between CMC and the library district to build out the space was awarded a $750,000 Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant to turn the larger, 13,000-square-foot upstairs space into a flexible meeting, program, classroom and gallery area that will accommodate 480 people.

The project also will include a kitchen area and additional office space for the college, which has its main administration building across the alley to the west. The two buildings are connected by a walkway.

The estimated $1.7 million Cooper Commons project also was awarded a $175,000 matching grant from the Denver-based Boettcher Foundation. The remainder of the funding is to come from the college.

CMC President Carrie Besnette Hauser said Thursday the college hopes to complete the work by next April, barring any unexpected delays.

“We have the request for proposals out for contractors and did a walk-through of the space yesterday,” Hauser said. “A lot of folks are stepping up to get to an April completion.”

The lease-purchase option applies to the 1,435-square-foot portion of the space that is owned by the library district and still encumbered by the construction debt.

The agreement transfers control of the library’s space to the college and gives it the option to eventually purchase the space outright at an appraised value of $157.88 per square foot.

An initial multi-year lease payment of $117,200 will help the library pay off its construction costs. The college could make annual lease payments after that initial period, or exercise its purchase option.

The FMLD grant for the actual construction was the largest single grant ever awarded by the entity that was created in 2012 to administer funds from federal lands leasing in Garfield County.

The design for the space grew out of a series of community meetings earlier this year that invited input on how to create a flexible, multiuse space, according to college officials.

The new Cooper Commons area will house CMC’s ArtShare program and related art exhibits and will be able to hold up to 480 people, depending on the configuration using movable walls.

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