CMU trustees seek money for new building

Colorado Mesa University trustees voted Friday to ask the state for $9.79 million to put toward construction of a new academic classroom building.

The state’s capital construction funds have been scarce for years but Colorado Mesa President Tim Foster said at Friday morning’s board of trustees meeting at the university that he suspects capital construction dollars will reappear this year.

“We think there might be capital money and we want to be first in line” with a request, Foster said.

The classroom building would cost an estimated $19.79 million, a price that includes connecting the building to the school’s geothermal heating and cooling system, according to CMU Vice President of Finance Pat Doyle.

Foster said he plans to get the remaining $10 million to match state funding, if it comes through, from partners or other sources. He said the university has requested up to $7 million from the city of Grand Junction and $3 million from Mesa County commissioners.

If funding comes through, Foster said design of the new building could begin as soon as November of this year and construction may start in March 2013, with completion roughly scheduled for fall 2014.

The building would be 56,000 square-feet and house the university’s mass communication, language and literature departments. The building would allow Colorado Mesa to accommodate classes for another 1,497 students, according to board documents.

If the university grows enrollment at a rate of 5 percent annually, Doyle said the capacity provided by the new classroom building would already be used up by 2015-16.

Foster said earlier in the meeting Friday he anticipates 
2 to 3 percent enrollment growth when students return to class Monday for the 2012-13 school year. Students will have a new reminder to curb inappropriate behavior this year with the trustees’ passage Friday of a resolution condemning abuse, intimidation or discrimination on campus. The resolution asks students to “embrace a culture of respect and inclusiveness” and embrace safety for people of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, genders and sexual orientations.

John Marshall, Colorado Mesa vice president for student services, said the resolution was not prompted by acts of aggression on campus. He said he formed a working group of students, staff and faculty last school year to come up with a policy that makes “a commitment to a healthy campus culture.”

“My hope is that we’re constantly working to improve and reaffirming who we are,” Marshall said. “We (already) have rules. This is a value statement that says we are going to operate the campus in a way that reflects our values.”


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