Silt fits the bill for new CMC campus
Everyone wants a piece of Colorado Mountain College. Communities on the western edge of CMC’s district are vying to be the site of its new campus.Battlement Mesa has some land to offer, as do Rifle and Silt.CMC-Rifle dean Pam Arsenault agrees a new campus would be a magnet for commercial development. Arsenault is on the hunt for a new site because the Rifle program has outgrown the aging building on Railroad Avenue.Silt has a good offer on the table, with 12.5 acres just off Interstate 70. The site has all the right stuff for a community college – high visibility, easy access, sewer and water in place. And it’s close to the new Coal Ridge High School, which would be convenient for students who are also taking college-level courses.For its part, Rifle has a 12.9-acre plot of land near the Garfield County Airport. While free land is hard to pass up, it’s still not a good site for the same reason the county decided not to build its new office building there – it’s too far out of town and has no bus service. Public transit will be key for the new campus.Rifle has also offered 13 acres on its UMTRA site where tailings from a uranium mill in town are stored. While the fill isn’t radioactive, it does contain unhealthy levels of toxic chemicals that would necessitate piping water from town. Nor does it have other utilities in place.Naturally, the city is willing to work with CMC because it doesn’t want to see this amenity leave town.Battlement Mesa has a 10-acre site donated six years ago to the town of Parachute that is held in trust by a private land owner. As attractive as it might be, Battlement Mesa is on the western fringe of the CMC district, and a long drive for someone coming from New Castle.Silt fills the bill. Besides being a central location, Silt, with the smallest retail base in the county, deserves the commercial shot in the arm CMC would bring to the town.Besides being a central location, Silt, with the smallest retail base in the county, deserves the commercial shot in the arm CMC would bring to the town.
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