Mayor notes CMC facility ‘will serve the region beautifully’
By Suzie Romig
The bright, modern lobby at the new Breckenridge Center of Colorado Mountain College’s Summit Campus was at times standing room only as a diverse crowd of county residents, regional officials, college employees and area well-wishers gathered for the Aug. 29 grand opening of the college’s newest facility.
The well-attended celebration echoed with enthusiastic and positive comments from visitors touring the 34,000-square-foot building, as well as speeches of thanks from college representatives and elected officials acknowledging everyone from donors to taxpayers. Applause erupted from the audience during the official ribbon cutting when campus CEO Alton Scales noted that the building was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
The four deans who led the Summit Campus from 1975 were on hand for the celebration. Speakers thanked immediate past dean Dr. Leah Bornstein, who was instrumental in planning for the new building before accepting her current job as president of Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Breckenridge resident Judi LaPoint, who organized the grand opening, said the event was attended by residents from every town in Summit County. Visitors showed up at the college several hours before official tours began, wanting to see the new center.
Breckenridge Mayor John Warner, who earned his emergency medical technician basic and intermediate certificates from the college in Breckenridge, said the new building “will serve the region beautifully.”
“We are thrilled to have it here,” Warner said. “I personally am looking forward to creating a campus that is regionally significant through transportation mechanisms that serve the community and the college. I really want it to be very easy for students to get to the campus.”
The new building, located at the north entrance to Breckenridge, is served by the recreational bike path from Breckenridge to Frisco and the local Free Ride buses, and Warner hopes the regional town-to-town Summit Stage will institute a new bus stop in the future.
Warner, a practicing dentist in town, said that while his wife was looking forward to taking cooking classes at the center’s spacious learning kitchen, he was particularly pleased with the new science wing.
“I really like what I see,” he said, calling the labs “very well-equipped with nicely spaced stations and great sunlight.”
“It really brings CMC and Summit County into the 21st century,” Warner said. “It’s a great new way to think of CMC. It really suits the community.”
City, county, college and state officials said the new facility will have a positive impact on the region.
“I think CMC is already a regional amenity,” said Bill Pelham, mayor of Frisco. “We are very fortunate to have a nice facility here in Summit County. It really fits in with the community.”
Colorado State Senator Dan Gibbs, who attended the college’s Timberline Campus in Leadville, was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony after local Boy Scouts raised the flag. Gibbs called the grand opening “so exciting for the community,” recalling that the college “was exactly what I needed” with its small class sizes and experiential learning.
“This community has done an outstanding job of helping put this facility in place,” said Breckenridge resident Dr. Richard Bateman, a member of the elected CMC Board of Trustees. “You are going to see a totally different Summit County because of this building, which will open up whole new avenues.”
Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, who was master of ceremonies during the formal welcome in the new 240-seat auditorium, said the facility “is very important for all the people of Summit County.”
“We are pleased to see such a great turnout from the community, who have come here to celebrate the opening of the marvelous classrooms, learning kitchen and auditorium,” said Alexandra Yajko, CEO of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation. “Many of those here today have made personal gifts to underwrite this facility, so that all the people of Summit County can enjoy this building and all it has to offer for many years to come.”
View a slideshow of the new Breckenridge Center