If everything falls into place, Aims Community College will be home to the area’s premier public safety institute by January 2016.
Aims closed on 10.7 acres of land on April 18 in the Southgate development, northwest of the intersection of U.S. 34 and Weld County Road 17 that will be developed into the college’s newest home for fire science and emergency services training.
“Our goal has always been to make it affordable for students to go to a two-year college and transfer to a university or put them into careers where the wages can sustain a family,” said Marsi Liddell, president of Aims. “We are a local junior college district that our taxpayers have been helping since day one, and now we’re giving back.”
Liddell was referring to the college’s ability to continue offering tuition freezes and increased capital construction while other higher education institutions are fighting just to get by.
The latest announcement comes on the heels of the college opening two new programs and buildings for oil and gas and agriculture in Fort Lupton this year.
Liddell said the college chose the Windsor location because of its relationship with the landowner, Martin Lind, and its ability to give fire chiefs from across the region what they have been asking for the most.
“They really, really want a fire tower,” Liddell said. “You can only imagine what it would be like to try to put a fire tower on the Greeley campus.”
Aims has put out a request for qualifications for architects and hopes to start getting construction bids in June. Hopes are for an August groundbreaking that would get classes started in early 2016.
Aims paid just more than $1.5 million for the land.
The school has been in discussion about the new facility for three or four years, now, Liddell said.
“It has been on the master plan to replace for sometime now,” she said. “It’s just been trying to figure out the how, what and where. I’m really excited. I want to know that if paramedics come to my house they are trained by the best in the field at our place.”
Aims Board of Trustees Member Mike Geile said the college has saved diligently over the past few years to be able to do this.
He said this expansion is a great opportunity for all the fire departments in Weld County and beyond to come here to train and for students to get the very best education in fire and emergency sciences.
“It’s a win-win for all jurisdictions,” he said. “And it gives us something that gives students an opportunity in this area to get a very, very high level of education.”