Hayden Ranch Today

Work continues on the ranch in the winter of 2011 under the watchful eye of Steve Harris, owner of Cloud City Builders and project manager for K.W. Construction and Restoration, Inc. in Leadville, the general contractor for Phases I, II and III. Phase I was completed in 2007, Phase II in 2010, and Phase III is currently in process. Crews are at the site working on the restoration all winter and into next spring.

A Master Plan for the Hayden Ranch project was completed earlier this year which includes the overall plan, the project background, existing condition of the land and the natural setting, a list of current contributing structures as well as evidence of past buildings, historic register designation and non-contributing structures, available infrastructure, land use restraints, and adaptive use: an Experiential Education Center.

Michael Conlin, a planning consultant hired by Colorado Mountain College (CMC) to prepare the Master Plan, spoke of “optimum utilization of the facilities” and envisioned the ranch as one day hosting an Experiential Education Center which would host the CMC Center for Sustainable Agronomy, which will be utilized as experiential learning tools for the Natural Resources Management, Forestry Science and Sustainability programs. CMC has just begun to offer a four-year Bachelor’s Degree program in Sustainability Studies.  CMC envisions classrooms on the ranch premises, as well as greenhouses and outdoor growing facilities which could provide food for not only CMC students but the Leadville community. Planning is also underway for a native plant propagation program which would originate on the Hayden facility and provide native wetland and upland plant species for restoration of damaged ecosystems.

Ted Phillips, Dean of Academic Affairs at the CMC Timberline Campus, is the interim director of the Historic Preservation program which uses the ranch facility as an outdoor classroom. He said the college will be offering three to four classes in historic preservation in the Spring 2012 semester and has found much interest among students as well as community members in the program. Phillips explained the classes are taught in a “hybrid” format with face-to-face interactions as well as computer-based lessons.

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– by Mike Rosso