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Higher-education campus finds home in Castle Rock

Colorado State University, ACC and Douglas County School District partnering on project


A new collaborative education venture between Colorado State University, Arapahoe Community College and the Douglas County School District has found a home.

Arapahoe Community College has accepted an investment of $3 million from the Town of Castle Rock in infrastructure reimbursement to construct a collaboration campus, according to a Jan. 10 news release.

ACC will build a $40 million campus on a 14-acre site in The Meadows community, the release states. The two-phase project will consist of two buildings of 54,000 square feet each, with an estimated opening of phase one in the fall of 2019. 

The collaboration aims to create an educational environment that will provide local high school students with a chance for concurrent enrollment for college credit, as well as provide further higher education for adults.

Initial educational offerings will be in the areas of business/entrepreneurship, health care, information technology/programming, general education and workforce training.

ACC will provide the infrastructure by leasing space to partners CSU and the school district.

"ACC is very excited to expand our presence in Castle Rock to serve the community through this very unique educational partnership," Diana Doyle, president of ACC, said in the news release.  "The collaboration campus will be a dynamic model for progressive educational delivery at all levels. We greatly appreciate the town's commitment and look forward to playing an integral role in the community's continued development."

The $3 million from the town will assist ACC - which has campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock - with building permits and fees, and land-site improvements.

Kathay Rennels, associate vice president for engagement at CSU, told Colorado Community Media in November that it is the first collaboration of its kind in the state. She said Castle Rock, with a population of about 60,000, has been targeted for the campus because of its growing population and accessibility from other areas along I-25.

Frank Gray, CEO of Castle Rock's Economic Development Council, said the campus is likely to help the town draw new businesses.

"This is big for our sustainable future as a stand-alone community," Gray said in the news release. "This educational infrastructure is another step in our strategic plan to create a great environment and workforce pipeline for the attraction and retention of primary employers.

"We know that access to an educated workforce and ongoing training are critical to a long-term sustainable and vibrant community." 

A student enrolled in the new program would have the opportunity to move directly through high school, to the community college level and eventually graduate with a degree from CSU without ever leaving Douglas County.

"Attracting higher education has been a vital part of our business infrastructure plan in Castle Rock," said Matt Call, chairman of the board for the Castle Rock EDC. "The collaboration campus is a huge win for our entire community. Quite honestly, I'm excited as a citizen with school-age kids and the opportunity to significantly bring down the cost of higher education for my kids and my neighbors."


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