GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
People from all walks of life gathered at The Point on the CMU campus to get a free cup of joe and discuss questions, comments, or concerns with the city manager and special guest CMU President John Marshall. President Marshall says, “I heard students from all over the country really who’ve come here and recognized what a gem this is. We have our challenges, we have got things we gotta keep working on together in partnership, but gosh, where would you rather be?”
Both students and residents shared safety concerns about a busy stretch of road paving the way for problems for foot traffic. City Manager Greg Caton says, “One item was the pedestrian crossing along 12th Street making that a safer pathway for students and visitors of the campus.”
One resident wants to reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on 12th Street parallel to the campus, but the city is set on keeping it at 35MPH, but my question centered on the future expansion of the university that’s going through growing pains. “It is a little bit challenging when you have a campus right in the middle of the community,” said Caton.
The question and answer coffee session with the city manager and the CMU president is over, but a conversation 30 years in the making is ongoing. That conversation involves the expansion of CMU and possibly integrating the old Albertson’s grocery store off 12th Street, but the $6 million dollar construction project is delayed and the site’s currently used for free campus parking. President Marshall says, “We continue to try and engage the owners with both the Rite Aid and Albertson’s. It’s our hope to purchase those buildings, and we’re just going to continue to stay in touch with those owners, and see if there’s a deal to be had.”
The expansion would end at the intersection of Orchard Avenue and 7th Street. That is, if the homeowners are willing to sell. “We usually engage with them. Get a third party appraisal, willing buyer, willing seller, and buy those homes up one at a time,” said Marshall.
As part of planned campus expansion the old Albertson’s on 12th Street could be the future home of CMU facilities. According to constructionjournal.com, possible options for the space include relocating the campus bookstore, more classrooms and lab spaces, or even indoor athletic facilities.