CSU partners with Arapahoe Community College to bring higher education to Castle Rock

Ravyn Cullor

Colorado State University has partnered with Arapahoe Community College and the Douglas County School District to build a multi-institutional campus in Castle Rock, Colorado. 

Courtesy of Arapahoe Community College

The Collaboration Campus, set to open for the fall semester of 2019 in the Meadows subdivision of Castle Rock, is intended to allow students to go from a high school diploma to an associate degree to a bachelor degree without having to leave Castle Rock, said ACC President Diana Doyle. 

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The campus will also collaborate with local businesses to create education programs to better train students for what employers need.

“The mission is to bring together education and employer partners to offer world-class, seamless educational opportunities to meet student and local workforce needs,” said Doyle.

The campus is being constructed by ACC and is set to have 40,000 square feet with a capacity for approximately 800 students, said Doyle

ACC will teach the freshman and sophomore level course, and CSU will provide junior and senior level courses, making those programs the only four year options at the college. Students taking the general education courses provided by ACC will pay the normal tuition and fees set by the Colorado Community College System Board, but the cost for attending the CSU provided courses has not yet been determined, said Doyle

ACC and CSU are planning to provide programs in business, entrepreneurship, computer sciences, health and wellness and cybersecurity, according to Geniphyr Ponce-Pore, the Assistant Director of the Office of Community and Economic Development at CSU.

CSU Pueblo will be teaching the cybersecurity program, according to Vice President for the CSU Office of Engagement Kathay Rennels. Rennels said the project involves the whole CSU system.

While CSU and ACC will provide courses on the new campus, Doyle said much of the instruction will be off campus. Students will get to learn workforce skills in their respective fields, including at the Castle Rock Adventist Hospital located just south of the new campus.

Businesses will also lease space on campus, provide some of the technology needed for training in their respective field and provide real-world project work for the students, Doyle said.

None of the prospective businesses are ready to identify themselves, but Doyle said one business is an entrepreneurship organization and other works in 3D printing. The local workforce office,  Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Workforce Center, will also have an on-campus office to provide workforce resources and training on campus.

The Collaboration Campus came about when the city of Castle Rock asked ACC if they would consider increasing their presence, as there was already a small ACC campus in Castle Rock. The city also asked if ACC would consider partnering with CSU to bring a greater range of higher education opportunities to Castle Rock, said Doyle.

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“The (CSU) Office of Engagement looks from opportunities to bring something beneficial to a community,” said Ponce-Pore. 

Ponce-Pore said that CSU also ran sports camps in Castle Rock over the summer, which are popular in Fort Collins. They expected 500 students to enroll but ended up with around 720 in the program.

“It’s one big collaboration,” said Doyle. “Nobody else is doing anything quite like this.”

Collegian reporter Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @RCullor99.