Student Housing: Grand Junction’s big three spenders in ’09

By Wyatt Haupt Jr. for Grand Junction Free Press

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — In a move unlikely to be matched for years to come, three of the most visible enterprises in the community spent upward of $150 million last year to expand and upgrade each of their facilities.

Mesa State College spent the most money of the three as it shelled out about $77 million on a variety of projects, including the North Avenue Student Housing complex, based on figures compiled by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

The $21.3 million complex features three buildings and added more than 300 beds to the campus.

The buildings, according to the college, include “24 six-person apartments with kitchens and living rooms” and “32 suites that sleep either five or six people.” The buildings also include multiple common areas with study rooms, and are energy efficient.

A total of 1,377 cubic yards of concrete was poured for the project, which also featured about 12,000 square feet of retail space. The space is home to several retail businesses, including the Bike Shop and Main Street Bagels.

St. Mary’s Hospital spent about $62 million in 2009 as part of its epic Century Project, which was completed earlier this year. The project, which cost a total of $276 million, expanded the hospital by several hundred thousand square feet.

The main feature was a 12-story, 434,000-square-foot tower that includes a helicopter facility on the roof complete with a heated snowmelt system for use in winter as well as sleeping quarters for the crew.

Grand Junction Regional Airport spent about $12 million last year with the bulk of the money going toward a multimillion dollar ramp project for general aviation, said Rex Tippetts, manager of the facility.

He said the majority of the money spent last year came from “the big stimulus grant,” which was about $9 million.

The ramp project was a priority because it was “falling apart,” Tippetts said. Of the money spent about $300,000 went toward development of the Subway Café project.

The restaurant, which will also serve beer and wine along with the regular fare found at a Subway Cafe, is scheduled to open in spring, Tippetts said. The airport has been without food and beverage service since the fall of 2007.


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