CMC looks to expand nursing, EMS programs with addition to Breckenridge campus
A proposed addition to the Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge campus will allow the school to expand its nursing and emergency medical services programs.
In a Feb. 8 public hearing, the Breckenridge Town Council unanimously approved the college’s plan, which would add a 6,827 square foot space to the south side of the campus at 107 Denison Placer Road.
When complete, the addition will be used for teaching space and simulation rooms for the nursing and EMS programs, said Dave Askeland, CMC vice president and dean of the Breckenridge and Dillon campuses. It will ultimately allow the school to grow from 12 to 18 full-time nursing and EMS students at the Breckenridge campus with the potential to add more.
“It would allow us to serve more students as well as (do) a better job of serving the existing students we already have,” Askeland said.
In order for students to receive their nursing or EMS licenses, they’re required to spend time learning in simulations in addition to classroom and in-person clinical time. The expansion will allow the school to bring in more simulation mannequins, which students use to practice working with patients and treating various illnesses.
The college is still in the early phases of the project and doesn’t yet have a set budget or timeline. The first step was to receive the approval of the Town Council before CMC moves forward with construction.
Normally, educational institutions like CMC are not required to receive council approval to add onto existing structures. The CMC Breckenridge campus is built on land donated from the town, so the college has an agreement to go through a public review process before making substantial changes or additions.
Askeland said the college wanted to add the space to meet the demand of current and prospective students. The college often receives more applications for the nursing program than it has the capacity to hold, he said.
The addition also allows the college to help meet the demand for health care workers, Askeland said. A 2021 Mercer study of the U.S. health care labor market found that Colorado will be short about 10,430 nurses by 2026. Nationwide, around 900,000 nurses are expected to leave the profession by 2026.
“The college is looking to meet the community needs,” Askeland said. “Our health providers are saying they need qualified nurses.”
The town council approved the college’s proposal with little discussion.
“I’m excited to see that you’re adding this and adding more capacity for training nurses and EMT,” council member Dick Carleton said. “I think that’s very important with some of the shortages in the community with staff.”
Once the addition is complete, all of the college’s nursing program classes will take place at the Breckenridge campus. Students will still be able to take prerequisite classes at the Dillon campus, Askeland said.
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