CMU seeks funds for library expansion

Colorado Mesa University trustees on Thursday approved a list of state funding requests to help fund three campus construction projects.

At the top of the university’s wish list for 2014-15 state capital construction funds is $16.46 million for a renovation and expansion project for the school’s 29-year-old library. Tomlinson Library is one of the few buildings left on the ever-expanding campus that has remained untouched as enrollment has grown from 5,764 students a decade ago to more than 9,000 students now in the Colorado Mesa system.

Colorado Mesa Vice President of Finance Pat Doyle told trustees the university has downgraded from a larger, more expensive version of the planned library expansion but still wants to add a 24,000-square-foot addition on the south side of the building and redo the existing 68,793 square feet in the library.

“We think we can still have a smaller increase in library size with compact shelving,” Doyle said, but added university executives decided at least some new space is needed after the library had to turn away students during spring semester finals due to crowding.

The university plans to contribute matching funds of more than $8 million, something Colorado Mesa President Tim Foster said he hopes will entice legislators to fund part of the $24.5 million project.

“We’re the only ones in recent years who have consistently come to the table with money. Enrollment obviously stands on its own. Those are two big factors as they continue to prioritize (projects),” he said.

Foster said he hopes to get state funding for two other projects as well in the 2014-15 budget cycle. The first priority after the library is a health science nurse practitioner center that the university plans to make by remodeling the Community Hospital Medical Practitioners Center for $8.9 million. The center is located on property the university is currently paying off and would house CMU’s Health Sciences Department, complete with classrooms, computer labs, an X-ray lab and other amenities for students and staff.

Third on the list of three state funding requests is a $6.8 million “tri-generation energy project,” which would help decrease the school’s power bill. The project would consist of building a natural gas-powered turbine that would generate power for the school’s electrical distribution system and help provide heat in the winter and cold water during the summer.


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