The Grand County Higher Education Advisory Council has asked for letters of support from all of the municipalities in Grand County regarding the possible expansion of a Colorado Mountain College campus into the county.
The process is still in its infancy; however, it is believed that a source of higher education in Grand County would be beneficial, said Ben Watson, a member of the board of directors for the Grand Foundation.
"At this point it is just some people talking," he said.
The Grand County Higher Education Advisory Council has started to talk to various business owners, citizens, and school districts in Grand County to start to create a needs assessment, which would be submitted to the board of directors for Colorado Mountain College, said Caroline Bradford, project coordinator for the council.
The Higher Education Advisory Council was established to explore the possibility of bringing a source of higher education to Grand County.
The towns of Winter Park and Fraser both plan to submit a letter of support, with some caveats.
One option that is being discussed is to base the possible campus at the former middle school building in Kremmling. However, Winter Park and Fraser officials have discussed the possibility of locating the campus closer to their towns.
"The assessment is not so much about the location in Grand County, but if there is a need overall," Bradford said.
The goal of the needs assessment is to gather information regarding what the community of Grand County would need or like to see in terms of class offerings, she said.
"We are also looking to see if students who didn't leave for college - would they take advantage of this?" she said.
Colorado Mountain College is a network of seven junior colleges throughout western Colorado, which are known for offering classes tailored to the local communities.
The Colorado Mountain College campus in Buena Vista, for instance, offers law enforcement classes, because there are prisons in the surrounding area that are among the major employers in that community.
All of the discussions that have taken place so far and that will occur in the coming months are preliminary, and no decision has been made by the local community or Colorado Mountain College officials, Bradford said.
A public survey is being prepared, which Bradford hopes will be available within coming weeks. It will seek to involve everyone in the community.
The survey would be around 10 minutes long and would consist of about 20 questions.
Bradford hopes to gather enough information to present to the board of directors for Colorado Mountain College by fall.
Stanley Jensen, president of Colorado Mountain College, did not respond to phone calls on Monday.
If everything is approved and a need for a source of higher education in Grand County is established, Colorado Mountain College could start offering classes as soon as fall of next year, at the earliest.
Bradford encourages all Grand County community members to contact her as anyone can participate and the council is always looking for new and beneficial ideas.
Bradford can be reached at CarolineBradford@wildblue.net or by calling 970-688-0812.