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Colorado Mountain College seeks permanent home in Chaffee

Brief by Central Staff

Education – March 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

On March 6, the trustees of Colorado Mountain College are scheduled to meet in Glenwood Springs and decide on a permanent home for operations in Chaffee County.

The college has offices and classrooms in both Salida and Buena Vista, but the rooms are rented, and over the years, there have been many moves when buildings changed hands.

So CMC started looking for a permanent site, and Buena Vista has offered one. There’s also talk of a site between Buena Vista and Salida, and Salida’s city government wants Wal-Mart to donate its old empty store at U.S. 50 and E Street.

Marie-Paule Truitt, CMC’s dean for Chaffee County, has produced enrollment figures for the past five years. These show that in most years, there are more students from Buena Vista (even when they don’t count the adult basic education program that CMC administers at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility).

1994-95: Buena Vista, 474; Salida, 453.

1995-96: Buena Vista, 304; Salida, 404.

1996-97: Buena Vista, 506; Salida, 395.

1997-98: Buena Vista, 536; Salida, 401.

Fall 1998-99: BV, 186; Salida 151.

On the other hand, Salida students, although fewer, tend to take more hours each semester, Truitt said.

It’s highly unlikely that CMC would build two permanent facilities in Chaffee County. For one thing, the county is not part of the CMC special district, so Chaffee residents pay no property taxes toward operating CMC. For another, the national guidelines for community colleges say that facilities should be at least 30 miles apart.