College gets lineworker training grant

Western Colorado Community College will receive nearly $300,000 to fund its new electric lineworker building, through a grant from the Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District.

Colorado Mesa University’s Board of Trustees in August approved a $2.9 million state capital construction request to build the facility.

The program, which offers certificate and associate degrees, is rapidly expanding and ill-suited to its current location, according to Vice President of Community College Affairs Dennis Bailey-Fougnier.

The $289,125 grant will likely cover most of CMU’s contribution to the project, spokeswoman Dana Nunn said.

Program enrollment has doubled in one year, from 25 students in 2015 to 51 students in fall 2016.

Graduates can work as line mechanics, lineworkers and power linemen.

“I think it speaks to how the oil and gas industries see the impact this could have,” Bailey-Fougnier said. “It’s a job that pays well and it keeps a lot of people in our community working locally.”

The proposed new location, at 950 Coffman Road in Whitewater, will house classrooms, labs, and an indoor training facility for use during bad weather. The program already has an above-ground lineworker pole field, which will be relocated.

The new facility will include a below-ground infrastructure for student training.

Other grants awarded include $185,000 to the city of Fruita for Aspen Avenue alley improvements, $50,000 to the town of Collbran for downtown improvements;

$50,000 to the city of Grand Junction for the salt shed, $48,800 to the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority for terminal safety upgrades, $36,540 to the Palisade Police Department for a patrol vehicle, and $50,000 to the Palisade Rural Fire Protection District for cardiac monitors.


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