CMU seeks to build lineworker training facility in Whitewater
Colorado Mesa University is seeking to expand an electric lineworker program that officials say benefits the local economy and will continue to grow.
CMU’s Board of Trustees approved a $2.9 million state capital construction request in August, and President Tim Foster said building a new facility for the program is in the top three of CMU’s priorities for new construction.
“It’s a really strong program for us and it pays (graduates) really well,” Foster said.
“There’s a lot of demand for it. … Some people just want to change careers and some people are laid off in the energy industry, so it’s a very good program for us and for our community.”
The current facility, located at 2890 D Road, is sometimes unusable during winter months because of soil conditions, according to Dennis Bailey, vice president of community college affairs.
The proposed new location, at 950 Coffman Road in Whitewater, gives the program room to grow.
“It’s a program that is growing by leaps and bounds,” Bailey said.
“It’s a program where there are lots of jobs in the state and local area. The field is changing dramatically, and we’re moving underground and they’re digitizing stuff. There’s so much more to learn.”
Program enrollment has doubled since last year, Bailey said, from approximately 25 students to 51.
Foster said enrolling more students will meet the increasing demand for electrical workers.
“We could educate a lot more people with a more appropriate facility,” Foster said.