Castle Rock Collaboration Campus groundbreaking approach to higher education

Arapahoe Community College Castle Rock Collaboration Campus groundbreaking

The Arapahoe Community College Castle Rock Collaboration Campus, a pioneering approach to the delivery and access of higher education, broke ground on May 21 at The Meadows, a 14-acre site in Castle Rock.

Vice President for Engagement Lou Swanson, Associate Vice President for Engagement Kathay Rennels and CSU Board of Governors member Jane Robbe Rhodes at the Arapahoe Community College Castle Rock Collaboration Campus groundbreaking.
Vice President for Engagement Lou Swanson, Associate Vice President for Engagement Kathay Rennels and CSU Board of Governors member Jane Robbe Rhodes at the Arapahoe Community College Castle Rock Collaboration Campus groundbreaking.

The project is a joint venture among Arapahoe Community College, the Town of Castle Rock, the Castle Rock Economic Development Council, Colorado State University and the Douglas County School District.


“The idea of the Collaboration Campus is truly groundbreaking,” said Kathay Rennels, associate vice president for Engagement at Colorado State University. “The partners who worked together to bring the campus to Castle Rock recognize the changing needs of accessing higher education. The integrity of the CSU System and its land-grant mission partnered with Colorado’s Community College System and Arapahoe Community College will offer an exceptional opportunity for world-class education to this community. The Collaboration Campus is an amazing step into the future.”

The campus will bring together education, business and the community to create a unique resource for delivering seamless education and workforce training to Castle Rock.  CSU and DCSD will articulate with ACC to create a smooth pathway from high school diploma to associate degree to bachelor’s degree.

“People often use the word collaboration loosely, but this campus truly is the coming together of educational entities from all levels, the community and local employers,” said Diana M. Doyle, Ph.D., president of Arapahoe Community College. “It doesn’t get much more collaborative than that. ACC is very excited to expand our presence in Castle Rock to serve the community through this very unique educational partnership. The ACC Castle Rock Collaboration Campus will be a dynamic model for progressive educational delivery at all levels.”

The two-phase project will consist of two buildings with an estimated opening of phase one in the fall of 2019.  Joint engagement from ACC, CSU and DCSD with Castle Rock businesses and focus groups determined that the initial educational offerings will be in the areas of Business & Entrepreneurship, Health Care, Information Technology/Programming, General Education and Workforce Training.

Rendering of the Arapahoe Community College Castle Rock Collaboration Campus (click to enlarge).

Access to higher education

“We know that pursuing higher education pays important dividends: a person with a bachelor’s degree earns on average $1 million more over their lifetime than a person with a high school diploma,” said Jane Robbe Rhodes, member of CSU’s Board of Governors. “In order to get into those college classrooms and have the chance to earn that degree Coloradans need to have access to higher education and to a pathway in high school that leads to a college classroom. That is exactly what we are breaking ground for here, and what the people of Castle Rock will now have right here in your community.”

CSU’s Youth Sport Camps at Castle Rock

Castle Rock Collaboration Campus logoOne of the first offerings that has emerged from the new Collaboration Campus agreement in Castle Rock is the extension of CSU’s Youth Sport Camps to the area.

Youth Sport Camps Director Brian Butki said the camps that will be offered at the Miller Activity Complex in Castle Rock for 10 weeks this summer include Music and Movement, FunLIFE, Multi-Sports and Outdoor Adventure. The camps, which begin May 29, will be run by a combination of student counselors from ACC and CSU’s Department of Health and Exercise Science who live in the area.

“Long-term, our goal has been to make the Youth Sport Camps portable,” Butki said. “So this is a good test of that. And the Miller Activity Complex is phenomenal.”

He said the beautiful facility, which is owned by the city, will allow the Outdoor Adventure Camp to provide enhanced offerings in areas like mountain biking, zip-lining, American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle courses, geocaching and outdoor/camping skills.

Colorado State University Health and Exercise Science students lead kids on a hike up to Horsetooth Reservoir during the Colorado Adventure Camp session of the summer’s Youth Sports Camps

Butki said the initial goal is to get as many as 500 kids, or 50 a week, registered for the Youth Sport Camps in Castle Rock — far less than the 5,500 participants that the CSU camps see on the Fort Collins campus each summer.

He said a precursor to extending CSU’s popular Youth Sport Camps to Castle Rock was a recently signed academic agreement between CSU and ACC officials that will allow ACC students studying kinesiology to seamlessly transfer credits if they want to start pursuing a degree in Health and Exercise Science at CSU. One way to provide those ACC students with hands-on practicum experience is having them serve as counselors in CSU’s new Youth Sport Camps in Castle Rock. Any counselor openings not taken by ACC students can be filled by CSU students who apply to be camp counselors in Fort Collins but live in the Castle Rock area, Butki said.

Two CSU alumni who were longtime Youth Sport Camp counselors have been hired to oversee the camps in Castle Rock this summer: Site Director Lisa Fraser and Lead Coordinator Tori Anderson.

“This is a great collaboration among Arapahoe Community College, the city of Castle Rock and CSU,” Butki said.


To register or for more information about the camps, visit