22 Jun Boettcher grant supports community space at Colorado Mountain College
When multiple partners come together to create shared community spaces, incredible things can happen. That’s why the Boettcher Foundation was honored to help fund a new community space being constructed by Colorado Mountain College in partnership with the Glenwood Springs library.
The 13,000-square-foot, second-story space in the Cooper Commons building in downtown Glenwood Springs is being built to accommodate a flexible learning center featuring collaboration rooms, arts space, and technical training spaces. In addition to being used by the Glenwood Springs Branch Library and Colorado Mountain College, the finished space will be open to community groups as well.
The Cooper Commons project got its start a few years ago when both the library and the CMC offices were running out of space in their downtown Glenwood Springs facilities. The library was considering a new project outside of the downtown core, while CMC was seeking a place to expand. The two hatched a plan in which the organizations would collaborate on a shared space that would keep the library downtown and add much-needed employee parking to the area.
The new facility opened in 2013, but the second floor above the library was left unfinished, with the idea that the two organizations would consider possible uses for the space at a later date. The groups reached out to the community — seeking input from groups ranging from students and nonprofit leaders to veterans groups and school districts — to determine how best to use the space, and the community needs spanned everything from a theater to a teen hangout to recording studios.
“What it boiled down to is that to address all of our and the community’s needs, we needed a big, flexible space,” said Linda English, vice president for fiscal affairs for the college.
In April, the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees approved a $175,000 grant to help fund the final buildout of the space. In addition, the collaborative nature of the project prompted the Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District to award it a $750,000 grant – the largest it has ever given.
Among the options in the new space will be a board room with interactive meeting technology, classroom spaces, and a possible maker’s space for creative endeavors. The space will also include a kitchen and flexible spaces that can expand to accommodate a variety of audiences and uses.
While Kristin Heath Colon, CEO of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, says the space will be used by the college for large meetings, it will also be used for community needs, including as a training space for the local school district.
Such uses, she said, will help expand and reinforce CMC’s role as a partner and resource in the community.
“It helps position us as an open-armed entity that is available to support and engage the community,” she said.
Construction is expected to start this fall, and the opening is expected to coincide with the college’s 50th anniversary celebration.