CMU trustees OK bonds for classroom building

Colorado Mesa University trustees voted this week to authorize the issuance of up to $19.9 million in bonds to pay for construction of a new classroom building.

The project, so far referred to as Academic Classroom Building II, has an estimated price tag of $17 million. The final amount of bonds issued will depend on final specifications of the building.

The university will wait until the final project cost is determined and there are “optimal borrowing conditions” before issuing bonds, according to CMU spokeswoman Dana Nunn.

The bonds will be paid off with help from a commitment of $200,000 a year for the next 15 years from Mesa County and $500,000 a year for the next 14 years from the city of Grand Junction. The remaining project cost may be paid off with money from the state and/or university fundraising efforts.

Bonds will allow construction to begin as soon as May by learning the project cost up-front. The building will be open no later than fall 2014, according to Nunn.

Trustees voted on the bond issuance Wednesday during a board meeting in Denver. The meeting also included discussion of increased efforts to bring more international students to the campus.

Colorado Mesa Executive Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment Rick Taggart suggested the university open its own English immersion school on campus to help attract more students from abroad. International students have to prove English proficiency to attend CMU.

Taggart said immersion schools on the Front Range are funneling international students to schools in and around Denver because those schools are on or close to Front Range college campuses.

“If they can look at a (Front Range) campus on a daily basis, we’re at a disadvantage,” Taggart said.

Taggart suggested Colorado Mesa officials connect with community colleges around the state to see if their counselors can steer international students toward CMU for a four-year degree.

He also recommended CMU explore the possibility of having degree program agreements with schools outside the U.S. that would allow students to spend a year or two in their home country and finish the last two or three years of college at CMU.

The school already is enhancing its recruitment efforts by employing a part-time international recruiter. The school increased its number of international students from 31 last school year to 50 in 2012-13. Each of those students had to prove they could pay $29,000 a year for tuition, room and board, and spending and textbook money before they were accepted.

Taggart told trustees he has a preliminary goal of enrolling 227 international students at Colorado Mesa. That total would bring nearly $6 million a year to the campus in tuition, room and board, he said.


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