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On Thursday, Colorado State University celebrated the grand opening of its new Western Campus in Orchard Mesa. The event capped off a year-long collaborative effort to provide residents of Colorado’s Western Slope greater access to CSU resources and a better opportunity to interact with the state’s land-grant university.
“This is an investment in Western Colorado, in Colorado agriculture, and in the future of a state and region where CSU is proud to be an economic partner,” said CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank. “It’s also a tribute to all of the partner organizations and county and state leaders who worked together to make this campus a reality.”
A CSU collaboration
CSU officially broke ground on the Western Campus in August 2018, with a vision to house multidisciplinary units in the facility, and Thursday’s celebration marked the realization of that vision. The Western Campus provides administrative oversight and intellectual leadership for CSU’s Agricultural Experiment Stations in Western Colorado – Fruita, Orchard Mesa, and Rogers Mesa. Orchard Mesa also houses CSU Extension’s Western Regional Office, the Western Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Colorado State Forest Service regional office.
“The Western Colorado Campus will foster collaborations and partnerships for our communities and businesses in the region,” said Ashley Stokes, assistant vice president for engagement and deputy director of Extension at CSU. “Through the expertise of our outstanding personnel on the Western Slope and colleagues across CSU, we are continuing to fulfill our land grant mission – working together to support Coloradans.”
The new campus includes a 14,095 square-foot combined office and classroom building with a teaching kitchen, a 7,717-square-foot state-of-the-art veterinary diagnostic laboratory, a 100-person capacity classroom and multiple meeting areas, and a three-bay shared shop with equipment and a fruit storage building.
The campus will support a multitude of programs, including the Community Alliance for Education and Hunger Relief, a program based out of Orchard Mesa that aims to increase the amount of high-quality fruits and vegetables available to those facing food insecurity in Mesa County and throughout Colorado. Run by AES’s Amanda McQuade, the Alliance wants to cut down on food insecurity while providing a series of educational programs to better connect people to the food they eat. The Alliance was recently awarded a Community Engagement Award.
Growing CSU’s footprint on the Western Slope
As Colorado’s land-grant university, CSU believes engagement is critical to its success, especially the application of cutting-edge research to benefit the public. With the new campus, that mission is advanced.
“The Colorado State University Western Campus gives us amazing opportunities to serve the local needs of communities on Colorado’s Western Slope, and I thank the local and state leaders who helped support this project,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell. “Agriculture is critical to the economy of Colorado and CSU is deeply committed to serving our state’s agricultural producers. This unique collaboration at the CSU Western Campus will help us find creative solutions to the complex challenges facing our state and our region.”