Our View: City should help college with growth
A proposed state-of-the-art geoexchange building on Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs offers significant promise for the college and the community. College and city officials should continue to work with one another to resolve any issues that could unnecessarily derail the project.
CMC’s proposal largely hinges on the construction of a secondary access road to the campus perched above the west side of downtown Steamboat. Providing secondary access to the campus before any additional expansion is required in the intergovernmental agreement between the city and CMC dating to the early 1990s.
Late last month, CMC backed out of a closing on 1.5 acres of land at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue that would have allowed construction of that secondary road. College officials said an unclear title on the land was the cause of the canceled real estate transaction, but the Dike family who owns the property suspects CMC officials were looking for a way out based on their concerns about the city’s willingness to sign off on the new road.
There may be some truth to the Dikes’ suspicions. Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts said CMC officials may have misinterpreted city staff’s expressed concerns with the access road proposal. Those concerns included the location of the road — particularly where it appears to pass through a portion of the city’s Iron Springs Park, the construction and maintenance of a retaining wall along the proposed road, and needed improvements at the 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue intersection.
On Friday, Roberts said city staff tries to point out any potential issues with a development proposal and warn the applicant to be prepared to address those issues before the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission. Nonetheless, Roberts affirmed that the city is working with CMC.
“The city’s trying to do everything it can to help CMC get through the process,” Roberts said Friday. “We’re supportive of the project.”
That’s good to hear. CMC’s Alpine Campus is a tremendous asset to the community. Increased efforts to offer four-year degrees along with the college’s collaboration with the Steamboat Springs School District to offer for-credit classes for high school students are examples of the ways in which CMC continues to evolve and adapt to the needs of the community. A new 45,000-square-foot, LEED-certified facility to replace some of the school’s aging 1960s-era buildings would represent a significant upgrade. College officials estimate the cost of the new building and access road at $20 million. It remains to be seen what the college will ask of the city in terms of funding for intersection improvements, for example.
Those considerations excluded, we urge CMC and city officials to continue to work together to address any obstacles to the construction of an access road at 13th Street.
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Real estate transactions totaled $42,885,400 across 51 sales for week of Sept. 17 to 23.