Trinidad State News

Short-term and long-term construction projects move forward at Trinidad State

Valley Campus / October 28, 2014

The Valley Campus of Trinidad State Junior College will soon get four new classrooms to help alleviate chronic crowding problems at its downtown location. At the same time Trinidad State will continue to seek state approval and funding to build a new campus on the west side of Alamosa – a project that could take many years.

Recently the College received $1.5 million from the State of Colorado to build a 6,700 square foot addition to the Main Street Campus of Trinidad State in Alamosa. The project will cover two floors and include four new classrooms near the corner of 4th Street and Bell Avenue.

The project went out for bids in the spring, but the costs were all too high, which forced money-saving modifications by D2C Architects of Denver. More bids were requested during the summer. A “Notice of Award” will soon be sent to Alcon Construction of Alamosa. Once started, construction is expected to take about six months, though winter weather could slow the process.

The project includes two general classrooms and two laboratory equipped classrooms. “It’s not that we have no science facilities at this point,” said Trinidad State President Dr. Carmen Simone. “This would just expand and allow us to offer multiple courses at the same time and become a little more efficient and effective at how we’re doing those courses. The classroom space is necessary because we are very cramped on the Valley Campus right now.”

The new chemistry classrooms will be plumbed for natural gas, allowing experiments that require flames, as well as compressed air and fume hoods. “Right now we have a biology lab space but we really don’t have a chemistry lab space and we’re just starting to offer courses in the chemistry area, which is pretty exciting,” said Simone.

This will allow us to have multiple groups of students working at the same time, rather than having to line up to use one fume hood.

The new wing will include two classrooms on the first floor along with bathrooms. The second floor will house two laboratory-equipped classrooms and a laboratory preparation space. Those rooms will be equipped with lab-grade work stations complete with fume hoods.

Trinidad State will also soon ask the State of Colorado for nearly $13-million to start construction of a new campus on the west side of Alamosa. Under the proposal another $1.4 million would be raised through donations. This would pay for about 29,000 square feet of new classroom space on about 15 acres of donated land near First Street and Craft Drive south of Highway 160. This proposal is designed as Phase 1 of a new campus. Construction of Phase 1 would take place over a two-year period.

Should this project receive funding from the State of Colorado, some Career and Technical Education programs which require large indoor spaces, would be moved over from the cramped Main Street campus. These would include Welding, Machining, Diesel Mechanics, Agriculture, Aquaculture and Construction Technology. Also planned is a space for emerging technologies which might include biomass and biofuels technologies. In addition a greenhouse structure is planned.

Eventually Trinidad State plans to move all its facilities and campus administration to the new site. That would require additional construction totaling 30,000 to 40,000 square feet. Currently Trinidad State operates out of two buildings at 1011 Main Street, with just over 56,000 square feet, plus five off-site locations.

“To be able to completely build out a new campus the way we are envisioning is going to take many, many years,” according to Dr. Simone. “So we are going to be operating with a split campus for quite a period of time. Right now we’re being thoughtful about which programs can stand alone at that new site and not have to depend quite as heavily on our current campus. The heavy trades are the ones we’ve chosen first and that have the most critical facilities issues.”

Trinidad State last year proposed a new 70,000 square foot building at the same site, which was not funded by the state legislature.

“We would prefer to get a whole new campus all at once, but logistically it just isn’t possible. So we’re taking the next best approach,” said Simone. “Eventually when the funding is there and the environment is right we’ll have a whole new campus. I just don’t foresee that happening quickly.”

The Phase 1 request includes infrastructure needs that will support future growth on the new campus.