Colorado State University is joining an innovative learning concept in Castle Rock. The Collaborative Educational Campus will bring together education, business and the community to create a unique resource for delivering a seamless education and workforce training.
In one location, the Collaboration Campus will connect the resources of Arapahoe Community College, Douglas County School District and CSU, thus providing learners the opportunity to create a smooth pathway from a high school diploma to associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree.
“We are pleased to join with Arapahoe Community College, Douglas County Schools and the Town of Castle Rock on the Collaboration Campus,” Colorado State University President and CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank said. “True to its name, the campus will provide students with the opportunity to move from high school, to the community college level and then facilitates attendance at our Fort Collins campus, CSU-Pueblo or other four-year universities without ever leaving the region. As a CSU System initiative, this represents the best of what a 21st century land-grant university should be doing – building shared solutions through education, research and leadership – as we connect the resources and assets of our university to this innovative learning concept.”
Last week, the Castle Rock Town Council approved an investment of $3 million of in-kind services to construct the Collaboration Campus. The $3 million will assist ACC with building permits and fees, and land site improvements.
“ACC is very excited to expand our presence in Castle Rock to serve the community through this very unique educational partnership,” said Diana Doyle, president of Arapahoe Community College. “The Collaboration Campus will be a dynamic model for progressive educational delivery at all levels. We greatly appreciate the Town of Castle Rock’s commitment and look forward to playing an integral role in the community’s continued development.”
ACC leading effort
ACC will spearhead the efforts by building the $40 million campus on a 14-acre site on the northern edge of Castle Rock. This two-phase project will consist of two buildings of 54,000 sq. ft. each, with an estimated opening of phase one in the fall of 2019.
“This partnership demonstrates Colorado State’s commitment to providing added value across the state with our engagement, research, and instructional programs,” Provost Rick Miranda said. “We have been very impressed with the enthusiasm of all of the local partners there and their willingness to invite us to participate in this exciting project. We can accomplish a lot for our students and for our community together.”
Colorado State was invited to participate in the Collaboration Campus because of its ongoing engagement efforts across the state. This process involves engagement centers — or hubs — including the Northeast Regional Engagement Center in Sterling, which for the past six years has shared university resources with residents in seven northeastern Colorado counties. CSU partners with Northeastern Junior College and Morgan Community College at the Sterling site to connect area residents with a wide variety of educational opportunities.
The Sterling engagement center, and now Castle Rock Collaboration Campus, are examples of the university’s engagement work across Colorado. These efforts are part of a CSU System initiative and have been led by the Office of Engagement, which helps to connect Colorado communities around shared solutions through education, research and leadership.
“The Collaboration Campus highlights Castle Rock’s and Douglas County’s public innovation and entrepreneurship. The partnership among Arapahoe Community College, the Douglas County School District and CSU represents the immediate and long-term future for a coordinated commitment to students and adult learners who create economic and community development values for their community,” said Lou Swanson, vice president for Engagement at Colorado State University. “We are very proud to be part of this extraordinary collaboration and the seamless pathways created for learners of all ages as they pursue their educational goals.”
Initial educational offerings
”This is truly a unique partnership focused on the education pathway,” said Kathay Rennels, CSU’s associate vice president for Engagement. “It represents a dynamic opportunity for the students and citizens of Castle Rock and Colorado. Not only will this create an educational ecosystem but a model of delivery that recognizes the needs of the 21st century learner. As a native of Douglas County and a representative of Colorado State University, I look forward to the opportunity to help this grow and develop.”
CSU, ACC and Douglas County School’s jointly worked with Castle Rock businesses through a series of focus groups to determine the initial educational offerings will be in the areas of business and entrepreneurship, health care, information technology/programming, general education and workforce training.
Leasing space, hiring director
As a partner in the campus that is being led by – and financed by – Arapahoe Community College, CSU will lease space at the campus and hire a director in the coming months. The director will be responsible for coordinating academic and community-based programming and services. One additional support staff will be hired.
Additional leases at the campus currently include Arapahoe/Douglas Works, the area’s workforce center; ConneXion Spot, a Castle Rock co-working space; and 3-D Printing, a local business, thus creating an interactive community hub that will engage students, citizens, businesses and community agencies.
The Castle Rock Collaboration Campus will also provide CSU faculty and students with research and internship opportunities, hands-on project work, and other activities.