CMU Breaks Ground on New Building
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A few golden shovels full of prime Colorado Mesa University real estate and you've got yourself a groundbreaking.
A ceremony was held Monday to begin the construction of a new classroom at 1020 Elm Ave.
Officials say CMU is the fastest-growing university in Colorado and also boasts the lowest tuition.
"We've almost doubled in about four years and sometimes that growth is 'Woah! That's too fast,' so we're hoping to be in that three to five percent [range of growth]," said Tim Foster, the university's president.
Others are less worried about growing pains and see an opportunity in the burgeoning institution.
"Our students live in houses," explained Rose Pugliese, Mesa County commissioner. "That allows people to pay their mortgages and their taxes and results in fewer foreclosures. Their parents come and frequent our hotels and our restaurants and bring outside money into our community, which is really important."
The 19.7 million dollar project is a partnership between the city, county, state and university.
"You go other places and you don't really find where the city supports the university - $7 million; the county supports the university - $3 million..." said Foster.
"To see the college growing and see the students' enthusiasm, it's just exciting," said Rep. Libby Szabo for House District 27. Szabo sits on the state's capitol development committee and thought CMU's plans to expand was a worthy endeavor to invest in.
"This is one of those stepping stones to become one of the marquee universities in the state of Colorado," said Telbe Storbeck, the university's outgoing student body president.
The nearly 72,000 square-foot building will house language, literature and mass communications curriculum. CMU's current student TV program will also expand in the building with the help of funding from Rocky Mountain PBS.
Construction is set for completion by July 2014.