Carbondale resident Paul Bushong pledged $1.5 million as a challenge match for other donors to join him in supporting the renovation of CMC Spring Valley’s student center and the addition of a new 4,000 square-foot nursing education facility.

“The Promise of Spring Valley,” is a $5 million capital campaign launched in 2018. In August 2019, the campus opened the new J. Robert Young Alpine Ascent Center, a 16,000-square foot student services hub, named after Alpine Bank founder Bob Young for his generous support of CMC.

Later that year, the Spring Valley campus also opened the Outdoor Leadership Center and Field House, another addition made possible by the campaign.

‘Local support is important’

A resident of the Roaring Fork Valley since 1999, Bushong’s interest in education and CMC began in 2018 with the establishment of a scholarship at the CMC Foundation, the nonprofit support partner of Colorado Mountain College. The Fast Forward Scholarship at CMC supports “those students who’ve fallen through the cracks,” Bushong explained.

Award criteria for the scholarship is based on need, rather than academic performance, and targets local high school graduates as well as nontraditional students pursuing technical certificates and direct-to-work degrees such as nursing, veterinary technician and paralegal. To date, the Fast Forward Scholarship at CMC has awarded 29 students with over $100,000.

“Local support is important to me,” Bushong said. “I want to support students so they can earn a degree or certificate and stay in the community and participate in their local economy.

When Bushong learned about the need to help fund a new nursing simulation lab and finish the renovations for Spring Valley’s student center, he was eager to jumpstart the campaign.

“Everybody has places to put their money but CMC is a special place,” said Bushong. “Their cost of tuition is a real bargain, and I continue to be surprised and impressed with the job they do.”

A lab for nursing students

The nursing simulation lab proposed for the Spring Valley campus will create a six-bed training and education facility with four high-fidelity simulation rooms and two practice simulation rooms. A 3,000 square-foot nursing simulation lab at the college’s Steamboat Springs campus is nearing completion and an additional lab is planned for CMC Breckenridge by 2023.

The investment in simulation laboratories allows students to complete 50% of clinical hours via simulation at CMC campuses. This will enable the nursing program to offer the highest quality educational experience in the most efficient manner.

“We are tremendously honored to have Mr. Bushong offer to match gifts up to $1.5 million with his generous pledge in support of the Spring Valley campaign,” said Kristin Heath Colon, CMC Foundation CEO. “He continues to champion the value and quality of CMC and with his gift, hopes others will join him in supporting our local gem of a college and the future workforce for our communities.”

CMC’s nursing simulation lab campaign is a state-approved Enterprise Zone Program project, qualifying eligible donors with a potential additional income tax credit of up to 25%. For more information about donating, contact the CMC Foundation at 970-947-8378 or visit

Paul Bushong celebrates with student during a CMC commencement ceremony.

Colorado Mountain College graduates Keanan Bell, left, and Wendy Avila Figueroa, right, flank donor Paul Bushong at the Spring Valley commencement ceremony on May 8. Both students are recipients of the Fast Forward Scholarship created by Bushong. Bell completed her Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology in May, while Avila Figueroa earned her Associate of Science in Paralegal last December.