Saturday, July 12, 2008
Rockmount College, Part 1
UPDATED 1 AUGUST 2008:
In conversation with a co-worker recently, it came out that he lived at this campus for a short period of time about 9 years ago. With some information from him, I was able to correct mistakes I had made in my history of the location. Some info may have changed!
And here begins a new adventure! Some background,
In 1959, Colorado Christian University, then known as Rockmount College acquired 284 acres of land just south of the small foothills town of Morrison, Colorado through donations by supporters of the School. Over the next several years, they set about constructing a 53-acre campus on the property (some inspection notices attached to electrical equipment on the campus indicate an open date of sometime in fall 1961 or spring 1962). Over the next 37 years the College occupied the location, merging in 1985 with Western Bible Institute and becoming Colorado Christian College. Four years later, in 1989, Colorado Christian College merged again, this time with Colorado Baptist University, changing name to Colorado Christian University and moving to the current location in the west Denver suburb of Lakewood. The campus near Morrison remained as a location for Graduate Students to complete upper-level classes.
In early 2000, the campus failed to meet inspection standards for Fire Code and safety improvements were deemed too expensive. As a result, the housing was immediately vacated as of July 2000, with fall classes continuing through the end of the year. College directories not affiliated with Colorado Christian University still acknowledge a "Foothills Campus" for the school, with an address listed matching the location of the now-vacant campus. A phone call to the listed number reached the voicemail of an individual; it's not clear if this person is affiliated with the University. The official Colorado Christian University website makes no mention of the existence of the location (surprisingly, not even in histories of the school), a Google search resulted in several vague news articles referencing "property near Morrison" owned by the University.
After a period of lying mostly untouched, vandals and taggers have virtually destroyed the interiors of most of the buildings in the past several years. Despite dry Colorado weather, several structures have collapsed roofs and nature has begun to take over the parking lots and sidewalks. The area is fenced off although it is possible to access the campus relatively easily (it remains private property and trespassing laws are enforced; adventurers are advised to visit at their own risk.
Over the years Colorado Christian University has repeatedly considered a move back to the property; every time the plan has been abandoned due to logistics and zoning problems. As of 20 June 2008, Jefferson County board of Commissioners approved a rezoning of the property to residential. University officials celebrated the decision and announced that the land would be sold and the existing buildings razed to build upscale housing.
I may be one of the last visitors to the location as it is; already some structures are marked with spray-paint by surveyors. This is what's been left behind by an extraordinary example of a typical case of red tape and poor decisions.
Details- Pentax K1000, 28mm and 50mm lenses with R2 filter (outdoors only). Ilford HP5+ ASA-400 and Kodak Tri-X ASA-400 film. Developed in Kodak HC110. Not nearly as much contrast as the sunny, high-altitude shots at Montgomery, but I kind of like the flat look for this subject.