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Operation Worner Desk: Care Packages to Afghanistan

Operation Worner Desk
Baby wipes, canned fruit, Skittles, beef jerky, tuna, pistachios: It’s not the usual Worner Desk collection of items. However, those on the collecting end – employees at the desk – were glad to gather them, and those on the receiving end – a platoon in Afghanistan – will be glad to get them.

Linking the two is Willma Fields ’01.  Lynnette DiRaddo, now manager of the Worner Information Desk, and Fields had known each other years before, when they worked together in Campus Activities. Fields, a religion major, was a student intern and then paraprofessional in Campus Activities. They reconnected when Willma’s husband, Sgt 1st Class James Fields, was reassigned to Fort Carson last summer before deploying to Afghanistan in February. He is scheduled to return in late November.

To occupy the time, Willma began filling in at Worner Desk last fall and was hired fulltime in May.  Soon she was chatting with DiRaddo about her children, ages 5 and 8, and her husband, who heads a platoon in rural Afghanistan, where they remove improvised explosive devices from civilian areas and assist with the transition from NATO-supported to Afghani-supported operations.

Fort Carson had always been in the background for DiRaddo, but never had any direct impact on her. That changed when Willma started working at the desk. “I started witnessing first-hand the effects of deployment and what it is like to be in the military,” DiRaddo said. “Willma would talk about sending her husband care packages, and I said, ‘I want to do that, too.’ I wanted to do something to help this family.” Being of Italian descent, DiRaddo did what comes naturally: “When you don’t know what else to do, feed them.”

With support from Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Mike Edmonds, DiRaddo and Career Connections Advisor Gretchen Wardell contacted various departments in Student Life, asking if people, either personally or through a departmental budget code, wished to donate to a care package for James Fields’ platoon.

The response was immediate, and Operation Worner Desk was underway. Departmental sponsorship came from the VP of Student Life, Worner Campus Center, Career Center, Campus Activities, Arts & Crafts, and Accessibility Resources (formerly Disability Services). Personal donations came from Wardell, Jason Owens, Tara Misra, Sara Rotunno, Bethany Grubbs, and Andrea Culp, with more $500 being collected.

With the platoon’s wish list in hand, DiRaddo and Wardell launched into action, shopping for  the items and filling two carts – and then going back for more when they realized they still had money to spend. In addition to snack foods, they also purchased practical items: small ice packs for the soldiers to tuck into their uniforms to help abate the 112-degree temperatures in Afghanistan, powdered flavorings for drinks, to make the perpetually lukewarm canteen water more palatable, and baby wipes, used to cool down and wipe off dust in an area with little running water.

Worner Desk student staff members Sydney Minchin ’15, Ginni Hill ’15, Sam Zuke ’15, Helen Kissel ’16, and Antonio Soto helped unload the goods from the car and transport them to DiRaddo’s office, where they were packed into boxes for shipment to Afghanistan.

“I’m amazed at how much people care,” Fields said, as she surveyed the mounds of supplies. “The war has been going on so long, and people still care. This is my CC family; this is my home base.”

CC Has Exciting, Varied Summer of 2013

Amanda Udis-Kessler, Director of Assessment and Program Review:
I started to record the third album of my music, welcomed an exchange high school student from Germany into our household, saw the TONY-award-winning musical Pippin on Broadway, preached the LGBTQ Pride Service sermon at my church, worked on a new sociology project about mechanisms of social inequality, read some ethics books, and visited the Bronx Zoo for the first time since my childhood.

Eric Perramond, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Southwest Studies
I spent May and June preparing for a course on food and agro-ecologies of the Mediterranean Pyrenees, to be taught in summer (Block A) of 2014. Then in July we moved to Chicago to do research on my next book and to prepare (with Bill Davis) the ACM Newberry Research Semester in the Humanities, where we will be teaching a group of 14 students from across the ACM colleges through December of 2013.

Pam Leutz, Assistant to the Dean of the College/Dean of the Faculty:
I spent 10 days in a small castle town in the Czech Republic making miniature design bindings, eating and drinking well, dancing and laughing with old friends there, and enjoying my “other life.”

Marion Hourdequin, Associate Professor of Philosophy:
Taught an interdisciplinary CC summer course on ecological restoration with my husband, geographer David Havlick. Presented a paper at an environmental philosophy workshop in Durham, England, and a talk at the Ecological Society for America meeting in Minneapolis. Began editing chapters for a book on ecological restoration in layered landscapes, and wrote a chapter for that book. Visited family in Connecticut and traveled with my husband and our children to Northern California for camping and hiking in old-growth redwood forest. Played soccer and went for some long runs.

Claire Garcia, Professor of English:
Thanks to a Mellon grant, I spent July in Tours, France, in the Cours Avancé at the Institut de Touraine. I spent a couple of days in Paris making s arrangements for my Block 3 class, Black Writers in Paris. I was home for three days before going to New Mexico to attend a family wedding, and then the following week I went to Washington, D.C., and New York City to do research at Howard University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture respectively. During my East Coast weekend, I dropped off my son, Mateo Garcia ’07 at Dartmouth where he is starting at the Tuck School of Business. I then barnstormed routine yearly doctor’s appointments and cleaned out my closet, which for some reason I always do just before Block 1.

Susan (Stuey) Stuart Elliott, Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach:
I was an assistant coach for the Team Canada women’s lacrosse team that competed in the World Cup games this summer in Oshawa, Calif. We proudly represented the Maple Leaf in winning a silver medal with the largest number of countries (19) competing this year. It is an every four year world championship competition, which Team USA won.

Owen Cramer, Professor of Classics:
Over the summer I spent four days reading first-year writing portfolios, then about a month mainly reading for pleasure and enlightenment, then three weeks of visits: to Eugene and Bandon, Ore., with my children and grandchildren, to Breckenridge for a reunion of my wife’s oldest friends from Mississippi, and to North Carolina to see some of my and my wife’s cousins and a sister- and brother-in-law. Then I began canvassing for John Morse against the recall organized by NRA and national Republican operatives. Along the way we bought a new car (the old one is 25 years old) and had the house re-roofed.

Kristi Erdal, Professor of Psychology
After teaching PY100 in summer session, my family took our travel trailer through the upper Midwest, seeing Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, Wind Cave National Park, attending a summer hockey game at the University of North Dakota (wearing our CC T-shirts!), sliding down the alpine slide at Lutsen Mountain on the north shore of Lake Superior, and visiting friends all along the way. Saw a lot of corn…

Bob Loevy, Professor of Political Science:
Over the summer of 2013, I published two new Internet books on the history of Colorado College. The first book is a collection of historical accounts of life at Colorado College written by faculty, staff, students, alumni, etc. Interesting items include an oral history on the founding of the Block Plan by Glenn Brooks and a chapter studying “The History of Gender at Colorado College.” The second book covers Colorado College history for the period 1999-2012. It includes the final years of Kathryn Mohrman’s presidency, all of Dick Celeste’s, and the first year of Jill Tiefenthaler’s.

Krista Fish, Assistant Professor of Anthropology:
This summer, I studied the behavior and biology of bushbabies, a group of nocturnal primates, at the Lajuma Reserve in northern South Africa. This pilot project was done in collaboration with researchers from other universities in the U.S. and the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria. Although we were only at the site for six weeks, we gathered a unique and extensive dataset that we will build upon over the next five to 10 years. Following completion of our work in South Africa, I traveled to Madagacsar where I participated in the 2013 International Prosimian Congress at Ranomafana National Park.

Mari Lee, Visiting Faculty, Environmental Program:
I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. Incredible trek!

Ellen Rennels, Operations Assistant:
In July a wild nature episode unfolded in my back yard located eight minutes west of campus. At 4:30 a.m. I was jolted out of sleep by a horrific scream, like a rumble with 100 cats. The screams diminished and when I looked out a few minutes later , the early dawn light revealed a black bear killing a fawn. Gruesome as it was, I watched as the bear ate most of the fawn and then ambled over to my re-circulating fountain. He washed his paws, sat in it for a few minutes, then ambled off. That’s my summer story.

Jim Swanson, Director of Financial Aid
In cooperation with the Bear Creek Community Garden Association and El Paso County, my wife, Jannette, and I volunteered many hours this summer and donated perennials and labor to restore a neglected flower garden in a large median in the Bear Creek Regional Park on Creek Crossing Street off West Rio Grande and 21st Street. This is our third year rehabilitating and managing this flower garden, adding enhancements each year. It is our hope and goal that our efforts add to the beauty of our city for people to enjoy.

Ryan Raul Bañagale, Assistant Professor of Music:
Immediately following commencement I traveled to the Library of Congress for research in the George Gershwin collection. In June we celebrated the birth of our second son, Theo. Somehow I managed enough sleep to complete a full draft of my book on Rhapsody in Blue in July. Finally, with guidance from Professor Anne Hyde and support from the Crown Faculty Center, I hosted a book manuscript workshop wherein four expert musicologists came to campus to provide feedback on that book manuscript draft. I’m definitely ready to get back into the classroom!

Andrea Bruder, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science:
After one year of training, I met with friends from Belgium, South Africa, and England in Switzerland to begin our ride across the Swiss and Italian Alps. Every day entailed over 6000 feet of climbing, and the Alps are much steeper than anything I had ridden in Colorado. Pushing grades of 10-25 percent for several hours, we climbed mountain passes and rode over 40 miles each day. Breathtakingly beautiful views at the mountains made up for the pain. The descents were as steep on a mix of technical trails and roads. I finished strong and rolled into Riva di Garda at the end of day seven. Hardest thing I’ve ever done!

Esteban Gomez, Assistant Professor of Anthropology:
Megan Anderson and I did archaeological research in northwestern Costa Rica. This is the second summer in a row we have worked together to map out subsurface architectural features at archaeological sites in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. This past summer Megan used Electrical Resistivity Tomography to test the Magnetometer data gathered in the summer of 2012, while I continued with excavations at locations targeted by the two geophysical techniques. With support from the Faculty Student Collaborative, students are currently working in the GIS laboratory to compile the data from the past two field seasons.

Diane Benninghoff ’68, Assistant Vice President for Advancement:
Faculty guest Bruce Coriell and I traveled with CC alumni and parents through Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. For 14 days, we floated through the greatest geology textbook on earth, saw wildlife, enjoyed the music and poetry provided by our guides and Al Mehl ’77 (and even some poetry from me), ran thrilling rapids, and hiked into side canyons. With Bruce’s guidance about Native American spiritual traditions associated with the canyon and river and how we might invite the special power of the canyon into our own hearts, it made for an experience that will be remembered forever. To get a flavor of the trip, view slides and videos.

Reception Honors 107 Published CC Faculty, Staff Authors

Authors for ATBColorado College’s 2013 authors’ reception honored a record-breaking 107 participants this year. Many of the participants, which included both faculty and staff, were on hand for a photo, taken during the reception on Monday, March 25 in the Learning Commons of Tutt Library.

The biennial event featured remarks by Dean Sandra Wong, who noted that works often go through many edits and revisions before publication, and that it is appropriate to take time and celebrate the finished product.

Event organizer Jessy Randall, curator and archivist for Colorado College Special Collections, said published works of all varieties were included: books, articles, audio recordings, films, sheet music, and encyclopedia entries. The publications were displayed throughout the Learning Commons during the reception. films, sheet music, and encyclopedia entries. The publications were displayed throughout the Learning Commons during the reception.

College records show that the first reception was held in 1996 and was an annual event until 1999; however, there were no receptions for the next three years. Randall, who was hired in May of 2001, held the first authors’ reception in the spring of 2003, and they have been held biennially since then. The next authors’ reception is scheduled for 2015.

This year’s list of Colorado College published authors includes, in alphabetical order:

  • Richard Agee, Megan Anderson, Daniel Arroyo-Rodriguez, Susan Ashley
  • Ryan Raul Bañagale, Ofer Ben-Amots, Diane Benninghoff ,Tamara Bentley, Ralph Bertrand, Salvatore Bizzarro, Noel Black, Peter Blasenheim, Nathan Bower, David Brown, Andrea Bruder
  • Aaron Cohick, Tracy Coleman, Jessica Giles Copeland, Tom Cronin
  • Marcia Dobson, Amy Dounay
  • James Ebersole, Kristi Erdal, Joan Ericson, Re Evitt
  • Aju Fenn, Timothy Fuller, Rick Anthony Furtak
  • Ivan Gaetz, Claire Garcia, Idris Goodwin, John Gould, Eve Grace, Susan Grace, Emilie Gray, Neena Grover
  • Clay Haskell, Sarah Hautzinger, Steven Hayward, M. Shane Heschel, Jane Hilberry, Marion Hourdequin, Jessica Hunter-Larsen, Anne Hyde
  • Bob Jacobs, Calla Jacobson, Daniel Johnson
  • Phillip Kannan, Vibha Kapuria-Foreman
  • Tass Kelso, Ruth Kolarik, Miroslav Kummel
  • Steve Lawson, Jonathan Lee, Robert Lee, Eric Leonard, Victoria Levine, Daryl Lindsay-Alder, Brian Linkhart, Robert Loevy, Clara Lomas, Genevieve Love, Phoebe Lostroh, Kristina Lybecker
  • Andreea Marinescu, David Mason, Corina McKendry, Sarah Milteer, Gail Murphy-Geiss, Paul Myrow
  • Dylan Nelson, Jeremy Nelson, Jeffrey B. Noblett
  • Michael O’Riley
  • Jim Parco, Eric Perramond
  • Jessy Randall, Kevin Rask, Esther Redmount, Jared Richman, Andrea Righi, John Riker, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Wade Roberts, Carrie Ruiz
  • Tracy Santa, Corinne Scheiner, Sarah Schwarz, Stephen Scott, Dennis Showalter, Christine Siddoway, John Simons, Rashna Singh, Mark Smith, Randy Stiles, Larry Stimpert
  • Mike Taber, Sanjaya Thakur, Jill Tiefenthaler, Fred Tinsley, Rebecca Tucker
  • Amanda Udis-Kessler
  • Matthew Whitehead, Barbara Whitten, Armin Wishard, Sarah Withee, Peter Wright

Open House Celebrates New Children’s Center

An open house celebrating the new Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center was held Friday, Sept. 28, with three generations of family members in attendance. Colorado College’s new children’s center is named in memory of Cheryl Schlessman Bennett ’77, an education major who was passionate about children’s welfare and taught elementary school in Colorado.

Assistant Soccer Coach James Wagenschutz reads to his son at the Children's Center.

Construction of the new $2 million children’s center was made possible by a gift from the Schlessman family. Schlessman family and friends in attendance at the event were Lee Schlessman ’50 (Cheryl’s father), Susan Schlessman Duncan ’52 and Jim Duncan (Cheryl’s aunt and uncle), Bill Bennett (Cheryl’s husband), Eric Bennett (Cheryl’s son), Sandy Garnett ’75 (Cheryl’s sister), Mick Fredericks ’76 (Cheryl’s cousin), Deb Angell ’74 (Cheryl’s cousin), and Peggy Christie ’77 (Cheryl’s college roommate) and Alex Christie.

The new 9,000-plus square-foot center will accommodate 64 children, from infants to preschoolers, nearly doubling the number that the former children’s center could hold.

Beth Dovenspike, director of Cheryl’s Center, and Sandra Wong, dean of the college and dean of the faculty, both spoke at the open house. “At Colorado College, we often talk about enabling our students to become life-long learners. As we think about our own childhoods, many of us realize how much our earliest social and learning experiences mattered,” Wong said.

She added that the center, which provides child care for Colorado College’s faculty and staff, offers an opportunity for learning to begin in a rich and healthy environment. “The center creates the kind of community we value. It attracts faculty and staff to CC, and builds connections as children grow up together and share friendships,” she said.

Woman’s Club Presents CC with $27,000 for Scholarships

The Woman’s Club of Colorado Springs presented a check for $27,659.77 to Colorado College on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in conjunction with the club’s annual luncheon and fashion show.

From left to right: Karen Rubinow, Jordyn Watts ’15, Mary Beth Williams, Kasi Carter ’11, Debby Fowler, Shaye Smith ’13, Pam Bruni, Diane Bell, and Vicki Nycum

The money will be added to a scholarship fund the Woman’s Club established at CC in 2002 when they gifted their club house to the college.

The Woman’s Club of Colorado Springs Scholarship Fund provides scholarships each year to two female CC students who are from Colorado Springs and who have participated in community service during high school or college.  Kasi Carter ’11, a past Woman’s Club scholar and current scholars Shaye Smith ’13 and Jordyn Watts ’15, joined Debby Fowler, stewardship director for the college, in accepting the check.  Smith and Watts both spoke about the opportunities open to them as a result of receiving this scholarship.

Bench dedicated in memory of Evan Spirito ’10

Friends of Evan Spirito gather on May 5 for the dedication of a bench in his memory. They are holding his lacrosee jersey, which was No. 19.

On Saturday, May 5, family and friends of Evan Spirito ’10 gathered on CC campus to dedicate a bench in his memory.  Evan passed away November 2, 2011 after a valiant three-year struggle with lung cancer.  Evan played lacrosse at CC.  Following the final men’s lacrosse home game on May 5, Evan’s family, lacrosse teammates  and friends dedicated his bench which is located at the top of the Tiger Trail behind McGregor.  As a close friend of Chris Quon ’09, Evan’s bench is next to the tree planted in memory of Chris, both overlooking Washburn Field where they spent many hours together. 

In addition to this bench, the Assistant Lacrosse Coach’s Office in El Pomar Sports Complex is in memory of Evan and in recognition of the support he received from his coaches and fellow athletes at CC.

Spirito’s jersey, No. 19, and Quon’s jersey, No. 12, hang in the CC press box for all home men’s lacrosse games, and hang on the CC team bench when the team travels for away games.

Ditch the desk and don the tennis shoes to ‘Walk the Block’

Members of the CC community participate in 'Walk the Block.' Photo by Pam Butler.

Colorado College’s Wellness Team

recently organized a “Walk the Block” to help promote healthfulness and get people on their feet, away from their desk, and out of the office.

The event, held on Tuesday, April 10, Colorado’s Culture of Health Day, featured a .93-mile walk. The walk began outside Tutt Library and went around the block (Cascade, Uintah, Nevada, and Cache la Poudre), beginning and ending at a table manned by the Wellness Team and laden with T-shirts, water bottles, pedometers, and snacks for the participants.

The idea originated during a meeting of the interdepartmental Wellness Team, chaired by Shaleen Prehm, HR manager/benefits administrator.

The group was discussing ways to encourage staff and faculty to exercise when Angela Hines ’82, P’12, P’12 , P’13, associate director of alumni and parent relations, mentioned that the New Mexico Department of

The interdepartmental Wellness Team. Photo by Pam Butler.

Health in Santa Fe, where she worked previously, encouraged staff to get away from their desks for a morning and afternoon break and go for a walk.  “It became almost a craze down there,” Hines said.  For there, the idea took form. 

Ann DeStefano, psychology staff assistant, was one of the approximately 30 participants. “It’s a great way to get some exercise and build community,” she said. “I like the idea of building community in a healthy way.”

The Wellness Team set up a table with food, water, and giveaways. Photo by Pam Butler.

Jim Swanson, director of financial aid, was another who came out for the event. “This is the most stressful time in the financial aid office,” he said. “I owe it to myself to get out. Plus there’s great weather and great congeniality.”

Some people took the easy way out! Photo by Pam Butler.

“I’m doing it for the health benefits,” said Jayne Blewitt, alumni and parent relations specialist. “It’s a good way to get out of the office and get it in gear!”

The Wellness Team hopes that “Walk the Block” develops legs and becomes a part of people’s daily routine. “It would be great to look out the window and see people walking in groups,” Hines said. “It would also help develop a sense of community.”

“Walk the Block” was a collaborative effort. Gina Arms, director of purchasing came up with the T-shirt idea.  Shaleen contacted Chris Coulter in facilities services about mile markers along the route. Kelly Hugger ’08, program coordinator for students and young alumni, worked on the advertising, posters, and the printed map.  David White, help desk manager, created the notice for the events listserv.  Linda Petro, assistant to the president and board of trustees, arranged for the food.  Sara Rotunno, assistant director of resident life, plans on sending out occasional reminders about walking. Ryan Patterson ’12 donned the Prowler costume for the event. A raffle was held for three iPod shuffles and four smaller gifts, with everyone pitching in with the giveaway items.

The team’s hope is that staff and faculty will walk every day, clubs will form, and a campus walking community will hit its stride.  “We hope everyone will have a pair of tennis shoes or walking shoes sitting under their desk, just waiting for a turn around campus at least three times a week,” Hines said.

SOCC now heard in Rastall and Benji’s

By Sylvie Scowcroft ’14

The SOCC (Sounds of Colorado College), the student-run radio station, is now streaming in Rastall Cafe and Benji’s. According to Jake Brownell ’12, the general manager, this has been a goal for a long time. When the radio station was first broadcast in 2008, it was on HD3 and needed a special radio. Rastall used to have one of these radios and played SOCC, but in its early stages the radio station’s reception proved inconsistent. In the early days of the SOCC, there weren’t as many shows, and students occasionally wouldn’t show up for their shifts, so there would be dead air. Now the radio station streams KEXP from Seattle when they are not broadcasting, so that is no longer a problem.

Jake and the rest of the staff worked with Bon Appétit and the AV department to kick-start this initiative. The radio station is now constantly streaming in Rastall Cafe and Benji’s. The process began at the beginning of year, but it wasn’t implemented until the end of Block 5. 

This project has generated very positive reactions. Most students welcome the diversity of music now available, as opposed to the repetitive radio pop music that had been playing before the switch. The one complaint received is that some students find some types of music annoying at certain times of day (for example, some people do not appreciate electronic music in the morning). To that end, Jake invites students to take the initiative and get more involved in the SOCC.

This innovation was a real morale boost for the staff. It is primarily an online radio station broadcast from a studio in Loomis Hall. Now there is a guarantee that someone is listening to a show, which inspires the DJs to take shows more seriously. They feel like they are providing a service to this campus.

This success has served as an impetus for other projects. According to Jake, “Student radio should be a real hub of sound-rich content.” He is constantly looking for ways to expand the SOCC beyond just the music. There are plans to launch small radio journalism projects focused on campus culture. This would entail five-minute segments to be run at the top of the hour featuring some topic relevant to the CC campus. Jake also would like to see student poetry or other forms of radio journalism be incorporated into the station. These projects will allow the organization to expand and will include new people and other interested parties.

Jake was a DJ for two years before becoming the general manager this year. The other positions on the staff include the events and promotions manager, Jitu Varanasi ’13; operations manager Teo Price-Broncucia ’14; and program director, Jamie Haran ’12. The SOCC tries to sponsor at least one event each block. They have recently partnered with The Ninth Block to host DJ nights. This is a great opportunity for the SOCC DJs to do a live set. They also sponsor events that feature student musicians and occasionally they bring in nationally touring bands.

The SOCC is a great resource for other student events that want music. They see it as part of their mandate as an organization to facilitate the availability of music around campus.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in any way should contact Jacob.Brownell@coloradocollege.edu or check out the website http://thesocc.org/.

Work begins on new children’s center at Colorado College

Colorado College has begun work on the new Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center, which will be located at 909 N. Nevada Ave., just slightly south of the Children’s Center’s current location at 931 N. Nevada Ave. Work is scheduled to be completed by late August.

The new facility will accommodate 58 children, from infants to preschoolers, nearly doubling the number of children currently enrolled in CC’s Children’s Center.  Construction of the Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center is funded by a gift from the Schlessman family in memory of Cheryl Schlessman Bennett ’77, an education major who was passionate about children’s welfare.

The current center, located in a retrofitted house with confining interior spaces, cramped rooms, and numerous stairs, is less than ideal for young children, said Chris Coulter, director of facilities services. The new children’s center will have a long, low bungalow profile.  The single-story building will feature six classrooms, with two classrooms for each age group; a multipurpose room; library; snack area/kitchen; space for nursing mothers; and a teacher resource room. The children’s center will open to a grassy area to the east, away from Nevada Avenue. Outside features include a rubber soft-fall area, winding tricycle paths, and a community garden with planter beds for the children.

Sustainability features include hydronic radiant heat flooring in the infant spaces, numerous east-facing windows and dormers to allow ample ambient light into the classrooms; natural gas hydronic heating throughout the facility; dual ballast light switching and occupancy sensors; integration with the campus Building Management System for optimal indoor air quality and reduced energy consumption; all LED lighting, interior and exterior; high performance glass and window frames; and the inclusion of mechanical system commissioning including building envelope thermal imaging to insure the facility operates as intended. Total indoor square footage is 10,706, with 9,249 square feet of usable, ground floor space, Coulter said.

In order to accommodate the new building, two Colorado College-owned houses were demolished.  CC worked with Habitat for Humanity at the houses, located at 210 and 214 E. Cache la Poudre St., to salvage items such as windows, doors, mirrors, hardware, and other finish features to donate to ReStore, Habitat’s local resale outlet which sells reusable and surplus building materials to the public.

CC also worked with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, allowing them to use the buildings for fire drills prior to the buildings’ demolition.

The house at 901 N. Nevada Ave., is not going to be demolished.  The northern exterior walls have been removed, and the house will be completely renovated, with new construction attached to the northern face to expand the building and create the new Children’s Center.

The architectural and contractor firms working on the project are both local businesses.

The current Children’s Center will be converted into short-term housing for faculty and staff.

First Block Class Launches The Ninth Block

It’s not often that a class assignment becomes a tangible enterprise, but CC’s new on-campus bar is the direct result of an economics course. A first block economics course, “Entrepreneurship,” was instrumental in launching The Ninth Block, the on-campus bar.

The Ninth Block founders, from left to right, are Lee Carter, Ryan Patterson, Luke Urban and Bryce Daniels. Not shown is Tyler Thorne.

At the start of the school year, seniors Lee Carter, Ryan Patterson, and Luke Urban, and juniors Bryce Daniels and Tyler Thorne took Economics and Business Professor Larry Stimpert’s class in which the assignment was to write a business plan. Their first idea was a combination barbershop and bar, but they quickly dropped the barbershop side of the business and focused instead on creating a social space on campus in which students could gather and talk over a drink.

The result is The Ninth Block, currently located in La’au’s Taco Shop behind the Spencer Building. Daniels, a golfer, came up with the name, which is derived from the 19th hole in golf, commonly meaning the bar or clubhouse. CC’s Block Plan originally had nine blocks, and Patterson liked the historical significance and double connotation of the name.

“I strongly believe in the importance of students having a place to meet and socialize that doesn’t require an invitation. This gives students an option who might like to have a drink with a friend or group,” said CC President Jill Tiefenthaler.

Students under 21 can enter the bar but are not served alcohol. Entrants’ IDs are checked, and different wrist bands are worn by students over and under 21 years of age.

“We wanted a constructive place where kids could gather. There was a lot of support from the administration and the students,” said Urban. “What we were hoping to do was create an alternative to the house party scene.”

The group was encouraged by Stimpert, who liked the plan but kept challenging the students to make it better. ”He not only pushed our group, he pushed the whole class. He challenged everyone to do cool things with their project. He expected a lot out of everyone,” Urban said. “If it wasn’t for Larry, none of this would have happened.”

The on-campus bar, which serves CC students of age, faculty, and staff, is a pilot program, but Patterson said the goal is to find it a permanent, on-campus location. Colorado College previously had a campus bar, Benjamin’s Basement (also known as Benny’s) in the Rastall Center, which opened in 1975 and served 3.2 beer, soft drinks, and snacks. It ceased to exist when the building was enlarged, remodeled, and renamed the Worner Campus Center in 1987.

The students’ project fits in with an administrative goal to provide a location on or near campus where students 21 years can meet, socialize, and drink responsibly. Once the idea began to take shape, the students got in touch with Mike Edmonds, dean of students, and President Tiefenthaler, to discuss the possibilities of operating an on-campus bar. Both were open to the proposal, and Edmonds put the group in touch with Joseph Coleman, a local businessman who owns several restaurants. The students formed a partnership (PDUCT Management, derived from the initials of the five students’ last names) with Coleman, and Coleman agreed to house The Ninth Block in La’au’s, where it operates after the restaurant closes.

“It is an exciting opportunity, particularly for the students who came up with the idea,” said John Lauer, senior associate dean of students and director of residential life. 

The bar, which is open from 9:15 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, serves nachos, chips and salsa, six different beers, and has a “limited but adequate” bar; it does not, however, serve shots. The students said that was a deliberate decision, designed to help promote responsible drinking and to distance the bar from the house party atmosphere. “It should be a place where a professor and student would be comfortable going after dinner at the professor’s house to talk about the issues of the day,” Carter said.

An on-campus bar helps minimize the risks of drinking, Patterson said. “This pilot program gives kids the opportunity to show they can be responsible. No one wants to mess it up.”

“The Ninth Block presents so many possibilities for learning,” Lauer said. “It is truly a unique pilot that offers hands-on business experience, another gathering place for the campus community, and a chance for the administration to see how all involved respond to the project.”

Although the entrepreneurship class was only a block long (and all five got an A in the class), they continued to work on the project the entire semester, even spending their winter break getting their bartender certifications. The group would spend long hours discussing, developing, and discarding plans. They would take over a classroom, writing ideas on the chalkboard and fine-tuning them. Stimpert can vouch for that: “They developed a high level of commitment to their idea, and long after Block One was over, I’d see them meeting together in a Palmer classroom late in the afternoon or at night hashing out details,” he said.

The students found they were constantly thinking about the challenges of getting the bar up and running– and knew the others in the group were too, based on the flurry of late-night texts and emails.  “It was the perfect opportunity to learn what it is like to be a business owner and to operate a business on a small scale, said Carter. “It was a great experience.”

 The bar’s founders said that the Block Plan definitely contributed to their commitment to the project, and that it would have been challenging to maintain their momentum under a semester plan. “It definitely was one of the top five educational experiences of my life,” Daniels said.

“The entrepreneurship course represents the best aspects of teaching and learning in Colorado College’s Block Plan,” said Stimpert. “The students immersed themselves in the creative task of developing a complete business plan in three and one-half weeks.  They benefitted from the opportunity to work with nine successful entrepreneurs – most of them Colorado College alumni – who participated in the course. But most of the credit for the launch of The Ninth Block must go to these students. Their individual personalities quickly jelled into a hardworking and effective group.”

Student reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “People are telling us that it’s fantastic, that it’s just what the campus needs,” said Urban. “Even people we don’t know are coming up and saying they were sick of the party scene, and it’s so great to be able to go someplace close by and have a real conversation. It makes all the work worthwhile.”

Patterson said the endeavor has been the defining project of his senior year; a “capstone experience.”

“I think it will be very rewarding in the end. We want to show everyone that this is a viable, sustainable concept,” Patterson said. “It definitely improves campus life.”