Apartments for CMC students in Steamboat Springs set to open in 2023

A new three-story, 24,000-square-foot student apartment complex is under construction at the site of the former Lower Bristol Parking lot at the Colorado Mountain College campus in Steamboat Springs.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The footprint for a more than 24,000-square-foot, three-story student apartment complex is taking shape in the location of a former parking lot below Bristol Hall at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs.

The $12.1 million, 35-unit complex will include 24 studio and 11 two-bedroom unfurnished units with all-inclusive rental pricing yet to be determined by a CMC systemwide committee, Dean J. C. Norling said. The project underway by Shaw Construction officially broke ground July 21 and should be completed in time for move-in before the fall semester 2023.

“We are providing housing for our students who are also working in the community and working toward completing a degree,” Norling said. “It’s not designed for the first-year student.”

The housing project in Steamboat is part of an overall $45 million investment in apartment-style housing at four CMC campuses including Edwards, Breckenridge and Spring Valley outside of Glenwood Springs, said Sean Nesbitt, CMC director of facilities.

The new apartments are following the lead of a successful apartment complex built in 2017 at the CMC Breckenridge campus, Nesbitt said.

Although a committee is working to determine specific guidelines, the apartment complex in Steamboat is intended to provide year-round housing for higher level CMC students who are also employed locally. Norling said one apartment may be retained for transitional housing for new CMC staff or faculty while they look for housing.

Nesbitt said the goal is to build energy efficient and attainably priced housing for working students. The apartment complex will be owned by CMC but managed by a third-party company.

The former Lower Bristol Parking Lot at the Colorado Mountain College campus in Steamboat Springs is now a construction site for a student apartment complex expected to be completed by fall semester 2023.
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot

Norling said the former 55-space parking lot was the “only flat space on campus” available to build housing. A rear corner of the apartment complex, which has internal hallway entrances, will be slightly recessed into the hillside to make room for the building footprint and approximately 33 parking spaces for tenants.

The studio apartments will be roughly 379 square feet in size with two-bedroom units around 750 square feet, Nesbitt said. He said the project was designed to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code building regulations and will be fully electric powered with no natural gas connection. The electrical system and roof are being built to support the possible future installation of a solar array, Nesbitt said. The college also will contract with a third-party vendor for commissioning of the building systems to test and balance for construction performance such as for the thermal envelope.

The campus dean said the Hill Residence Hall on campus stays “very full” with student boarders.

“It feels really vital up here, and we are excited about that. Parking is something that we will have to keep working on,” Norling noted.

Norling said the parking spots lost in the former Lower Bristol Parking Lot will need to be redistributed throughout the campus via new small islands of parking.

The apartment building represents the fourth large construction project on the CMC Steamboat campus within the last 30 years, including Bristol Hall built in 1992, Hill Residence Hall in 1996 and the Academic Center in 2012, Nesbitt said.

Some neighbors on Bob Adams Drive said this week they remain concerned about speeding and increased traffic on the entrance roads to campus. Although the two entrances to the campus off of 12th Street — Crawford Avenue to the west and Bob Adams Drive to the east — are marked 15 mph, drivers regularly go 25 to 40 mph, neighbor Derek VanArsdale said.

“The added amount of traffic because of the year-round apartment building is a concern,” VanArsdale said. “I would like to see more and better signage.”

Norling noted that CMC staff reached out through different communication avenues to local neighbors. He noted both Crawford and Bob Adams are city streets.

Nesbitt said the entrance roads also are seeing increased traffic with summer housing at Hill Residence Hall because of conferences and activities booked on campus.

“The CMC Steamboat campus and the college understand the housing crunch in our mountain communities,” Norling said. “This project will provide opportunities for students to have an affordable and convenient option that will enable them to reach their educational goal more quickly.”

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