CMC board members and Salida officials

At the Jan. 30 meeting of the CMC Board of Trustees, the trustees met with a delegation of about 20 administrators and officials from Salida, The group toured campuses in Leadville, Vail Valley at Edwards, Glenwood Springs and Aspen.

The Salida School District and Colorado Mountain College are engaged in a feasibility study to determine whether Salida might join CMC’s taxing district. The college’s 11 campuses serve local populations with two-year and four-year degrees, occupational programs and lifelong learning.

Salida is currently in the nine-county CMC service area but not part of the six-county taxing district, which means the college can only offer very limited programming in Salida. In recognition of the community’s significant growth and changing economy, leaders from the Salida community are exploring the opportunities to enrich Salida’s educational, economic and cultural offerings through CMC.

“Salida is the perfect town with everything we could want except for higher education. This is the logical next step for Salida,” said Cheryl Brown-Kovacic, Ph.D., Salida City Council member.

The feasibility study will be completed by the middle of March, when both the CMC Board of Trustees and the Salida School Board will decide if an annexation initiative would be placed on the November 2019 ballot. By law, annexation requires approval of voters in both the existing CMC district and in each of the school districts desiring to join the district.

As part of the feasibility study, CMC hosted school board members, school administrators, the mayor and representatives of the Salida City Council Jan. 29-30 on a tour of four CMC campus locations. Participants toured the Leadville campus, exploring that campus’s signature programs and the many community partnerships that support education, economic development and community vitality.

Then the group visited the Edwards campus in the Vail Valley, highlighting opportunities that CMC provides in concurrent enrollment with high school students and the campus’s programs in the health sciences. The new automotive center was next on the tour, followed by the H2 Center at Eagle Valley High School, which is a shared facility providing training for careers in culinary arts, hospitality and health care.

The group finished the day with a tour and informational session at CMC’s Glenwood Center, which specializes in adult basic education and has strong partnerships with community senior programs and childcare facilities.

“The bus tour helped confirm some of the ideas we have been discussing in how flexible the programming with CMC can be depending on the community needs. I’m very excited to continue working forwards in this process bringing CMC into Salida,” said Joe Smith, vice president of commercial loans at High Country Bank and Salida School Board member.

The second day of the tour included a breakfast work session with the CMC Board of Trustees, during which the group discussed the feasibility study, timelines and how programming and physical space might roll out if Salida were to become part of the CMC district.

The group ended their two-day visit with a tour of CMC Aspen, which specializes in community education classes in art and dance.