The board of trustees approved a request to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education for $8.3 million for the construction of a new building just one day before the commission gathered to vote on all requests sent by colleges throughout the state.

However, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education denied the request to be considered for state funding on this construction project this year. However, CMU still plans to expand their programs.

This building would serve as an additional place of study for those looking to enter the medical field, including occupational and physical therapy programs and physician assistants. The request was sent by the board in response for the increasing need for qualified health care professionals on the Western Slope and throughout the state of Colorado.

Normally, construction requests are submitted to the commission in the fall for consideration in the spring, but CMU President Tim Foster told the Daily Sentinel that even though “it’s not normal it’s not unheard of.”

This request is just one of five construction requests being considered by the Commission for state funding. The other construction requests include proposals to expand and renovate the Moss Performing Arts Center, a new facility for Western Colorado Community College’s electric line worker program and a storage facility for the marching band.

These programs would be new to CMU. Research has shown a high level of interest in these programs among current CMU students as well as a demand for professionals in these fields both in Colorado and nationally, according to Foster. Due to the fact that they are master and doctoral programs, they tend to come at a higher tuition charge.

“When setting tuition for graduate programs, one of the considerations has to be the cost of delivering the program and, quite frankly, some cost more than others,” Foster said.

The new building would be just under 21,000 square feet, have two floors and would be built next to the recently renovated health sciences building. It would include not only classrooms, but instructional laboratories, clinical exam rooms, break-out and study rooms and a cadaver lab as well as a place for students to study, discuss or socialize.

“The new facility will enable CMU students to further their educations in a facility that provides the space, technology and equipment that meets the expectations of the healthcare industry thus making the graduates more competitive in the hiring process, as well as better prepared to excel professionally,” Foster said.

Foster went on to say that at the end of the day, a new building is nothing more than a tool and a means to an end.

“The end goal is to make sure our students have access to quality instruction in their chosen fields using technology and equipment that meets or exceeds industry standards so they will be prepared to achieve their personal and professional goals,” Foster said.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education denied the request to be considered for state funding on this construction project this year. However, CMU still plans to expand their programs.

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