Glenwood Center Updates
Glenwood Center Update – March 10, 2021
Over the past six months, Colorado Mountain College’s internal working group examined opportunities to benefit students and taxpayers alike through potential changes to the use of the Glenwood Center. The group analyzed data and drafted scenarios that explored potential options for relocating programs, addressing costs, benefits, equity, access, efficiency, effectiveness, and service to students. Five alternative instructional options were considered:
- Continuing education courses at 8th and Grand – There is interest and need in offering some continuing education (also known as community education or non-credit) courses at Morgridge Commons. Space for evening offerings has been tight at the Glenwood Center. Offering select short-term evening seminars at Morgridge Commons is a win-win solution and could build more connectivity with downtown businesses. We will begin testing this idea as early as spring 2021, if conditions allow. Other continuing education classes are best suited for delivery at the Glenwood Center, particularly daytime classes.
- ESL/HSE at 8th and Grand – The group conducted a thorough analysis of offering English as a second language and high school equivalency courses at 8th and Grand/Morgridge Commons. Some aspects could be beneficial, particularly the association with the public library and convenient bus service. These positives, however, did not outweigh the current benefits of the existing program at the Glenwood Center, nor the administrative burden that would result from offering daytime classes at the Glenwood Center and nighttime classes downtown.
- Credit course consolidation at Spring Valley – The initial analysis indicated that all of the courses offered at the Glenwood Center in the evenings in a single semester could not be fully accommodated at the Spring Valley campus. A number of courses could be accommodated at Spring Valley or other CMC locations and fulfill the educational needs and preferences of students, and these shifts will be made in future semesters. There are access barriers for students who lack vehicles and concerns about traveling to Spring Valley in winter weather; these barriers must be addressed by considering expanded transportation. There is also an appreciation for the convenience of credit courses offered at the Glenwood Center and the access this provides. Student survey data support this.
- Concurrent enrollment offerings – All options were explored with an eye toward efficiency and effectiveness in enhancing concurrent enrollment options for local high school students, allowing them to get a jump on college by taking classes that earn them high school and college credit, at the same time. The analysis showed that the concurrent enrollment program had been gaining positive traction with classes scheduled at the Glenwood Center that align specifically with the Glenwood Springs High School schedule. This was also true of classes taught in the high school during the day by high school instructors credentialed to teach CMC courses. Opportunities are available at Spring Valley for career and technical education courses; the analysis recommended scheduling courses to attract students from local high schools with transportation support from the schools. A combination of all of these options was seen as providing the most opportunities for students to access concurrent enrollment. Offering courses at 8th and Grand did not have enough advantages to outweigh potential access disincentives – daytime parking, daytime classroom limitations, etc.
- Consolidation of student services – This option continues to be explored. Virtual student services like academic advising, financial aid, and admissions functions that are occurring during the pandemic have increased access to many students and resulted in very positive feedback. Additionally, the prime location of the 8th and Grand space publicizes CMC and attracts a number of prospective students. The working group is examining the efficacy of combining central, campus, and college-wide student affairs staff in live and virtual settings to serve current and prospective students.
Additional conversations with the Colorado River BOCES confirmed there is no longer interest in leasing space at the Glenwood Center for the regional alternative high school. In consideration of the specialized learning and social needs of the student population, as well as increased demand from students in school districts farther west, the BOCES staff plans to pursue other locations.
Campus leadership will continue community conversations, as all campuses do regularly, with compatible potential partners. Portions of the Glenwood Center and/or 8th and Grand may be appropriate for partnership arrangements, just as the campus has done with RSVP, the senior lunch program, and the Children’s Mini College.
The disruption of classroom and facility use resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed considerable uncertainty in how buildings will be used post-pandemic. Thoughtful consideration of the community, business, and educational needs will be key as we address the potential for “best use” for the vacant space at 8th and Grand Avenue. The working group recommends first completing an internal review over the next few months that will seek to fully identify and evaluate college needs and opportunities for the space, and then will set the stage for engaging in an external process similar to the one used to determine the highest and best use for Morgridge Commons. In that process, community conversations and charrettes were facilitated by external conveners, resulting in a recommended course of action that was beneficial to all. During any of this review period, the college may engage in pilot uses of the space to learn more about what works and delivers the most value to the college, to learners, and to the broader community.
Glenwood Center Update – October 28, 2020
Colorado Mountain College’s internal working group exploring questions of CMC’s use of college-owned facilities in Glenwood Springs is examining how students and community members use the facilities and where those services could be offered. The team is exploring these based on service type:
- Continuing education courses
- English as a second language (ESL) and high school equivalency courses
- Degree- and certificate-related courses
- Concurrent enrollment courses
- Student support services
The team will evaluate different scenarios for these services with an eye on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness without sacrificing commitment to students and community. The team will use existing data and has started to collect data from focus groups and surveys. This research will continue over the next several months, at a minimum.
The team provided an update to the CMC Board of Trustees at its work session on Tuesday, October 20. In the informal discussion trustees also heard from community residents who expressed support for the services offered at the Glenwood Center and a willingness to work with the working group.
The board advised the working group to ensure community input was solicited, to communicate the progress of the team’s work, and to continue to engage in evaluating innovative options for maximizing use of space of college facilities. The internal working group will provide a progress update to the trustees in early 2021.
The Board of Trustees will not be making any decisions at that time, but desire a report of the working group’s efforts and findings.
Statement regarding CMC’s Glenwood Center
September 3, 2020
As part of Colorado Mountain College’s ongoing commitment to its many communities, students, employees, and taxpayers, the college regularly evaluates the most efficient use of all of its facilities.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the college is not selling or closing its Glenwood Center on Blake Avenue and remains deeply committed to those who use the building regularly, including ESL, adult, and continuing education students; the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) participants and volunteers; Mini College; and others.
As a steward of taxpayer dollars, CMC strives to strike a balance among fiscal responsibility, quality programs, access for students, and service to community. This is particularly true in light of a global pandemic and its long-term budgetary and programmatic impact on public institutions of higher education. The college is conducting preliminary, exploratory discussions about the best use of college facilities across the Roaring Fork Valley; Garfield County alone is home to five separate campuses and centers.
Even before the pandemic closed in-person operations at the college’s 11 campuses and centers, utilization of the Glenwood Center was often light, outside evenings when courses were scheduled. Meanwhile, partner organizations in need of support were looking for options to better serve the community during difficult financial times. One such partner is Yampah Mountain High School, with which CMC is having conversations about possible lease arrangements. Yampah is a school that is funded by and supports all of the school districts in Garfield and Pitkin counties, and many of its graduates enroll at CMC. Given this alignment of missions, we have invited discussions about how to better use CMC’s physical assets to enhance the education of all residents in the region.
Additionally, the unexpected departure of US Bank from its previous location in the CMC Central Services building frees up a large, centrally located space in downtown Glenwood Springs. When combined with CMC’s Morgridge Commons and offices no longer needed by the Glenwood Springs Chamber and Resort Association (also housed in this location), nearly 25,000 square feet of space has new potential to support the college’s mission. Importantly, CMC’s accreditor recognizes the Glenwood Center as a “location” and not a primary campus, so most certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree programs can only be delivered with support from the Spring Valley campus which recently received more than $35 million of facility improvements and enhanced student support services.
Because CMC’s physical footprint in Glenwood Springs grew unexpectedly and considering that the college maintains three locations in close proximity to one another (Glenwood Center, Central Services/Morgridge Commons, and Spring Valley) we are actively examining how to continue to deliver high-quality education in Glenwood Springs while being mindful that the region has physical resources well beyond those found in other CMC communities.
Over the coming months, a working group will seek employee, student, and community input before any proposals are presented to the CMC Board of Trustees for its consideration. Importantly, the trustees have not voted on any proposals regarding the Glenwood Center to date, but are aware of the conversations underway and recognize the college’s fiscal realities in 2021 and beyond.
As the college’s working group goes through this process, we ask that all interested stakeholders remain open-minded and respectful, and maintain a willingness to listen, learn, and offer the benefit of the doubt as to the college’s intentions. CMC has always strived to do what is best for its students, employees, communities, and taxpayers spread across nine counties. And, over the course of the college’s 55 years, CMC has evolved in numerous ways, always adapting to changing circumstances.
If you have interest in being part of the discussions about the future of the Glenwood Center or sharing your views, please send them to: Glenwoodcenter@coloradomtn.edu.
College leadership recognizes the concern expressed by members of the community and acknowledges it as an expression of heartfelt affection for the Glenwood Center and the role it has played in many thousands of lives in the Roaring Fork Valley. These feelings and memories have our deep respect. We also embrace the notion that colleges are not simply buildings or campuses, but caring people, quality programs, and meaningful services. Colleges change lives and enhance communities, not only because of the buildings they maintain, but more so because of the relationships they create and the opportunities they offer, particularly for those with the fewest resources or options. Rest assured that CMC will always be a vital part of Glenwood Springs, regardless of physical space or methods the college uses to support its students.