CMU-Montrose campus set for makeover

Colorado Mesa University’s Montrose campus broke ground Thursday on a $1.4 million remodeling project.

A combination of three federal grants secured by the city of Montrose will pay for $470,000 of the project. CMU is collecting additional funds through the Montrose Campus Capital Campaign.

The renovation project will turn the CMU extension building, which began as an elementary school in 1935, into a more university-appropriate facility, according to CMU-Montrose Director Joey Montoya Boese. The lockers that lined the building’s hallways for decades were ripped out Tuesday and acoustics and technology will be improved in the classrooms. Instructor offices will be moved next to administrative offices and the school will have two computer labs and two video-conference rooms. The campus uses video conferencing to gain access to CMU professors in Grand Junction and the doubling of computer labs will mean students don’t have to worry about having their access to a computer blocked if a class is taking place in one lab.

The biggest change in the renovation will be the addition of a multi-purpose lab and a health science simulation lab. Boese said nursing is a popular major at the Montrose campus and the health science lab will be a blessing for those students. The multi-purpose lab will allow students in general science classes to perform lab activities on campus rather than use labs at Montrose High School in the evenings, which is the current practice.

Boese said she expects construction to last through mid- to late-July, when technology equipment changes and installations will occur. The project should be done by the time fall classes begin Aug. 10, Boese said.

CMU-Montrose administrative offices have been moved to the Montrose Regional Library during renovations and summer classes will take place at Montrose High School. Boese said there are fewer summer offerings this year, but there will still be a handful of general education courses and nursing and medical office assistant classes taking place.

The remodel will not add surface area to the campus, Boese said. But the reconfiguration of certain areas will help maximize the space available, she said. That space will come in handy as an advisory council made up of community members works on a time frame for plans to double enrollment at the school. More than 330 students currently attend the school and growth has been in the double-digits for two years, according to Boese.

Boese said she isn’t sure how long it will take to double enrollment, but she’s guessing it could happen as soon as 2017, depending on the economy. She said the campus is trying to decide which programs, if any, to add to attract more students. A medical office assistant certificate program was added last fall at the campus and will graduate its first students July 26.


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