The Brighton Center is a satellite facility of the Westminster Campus. The center offers developmental studies, general education, and business classes for student who want to complete and Associate of Arts degree or fulfill prerequisites for another program. But it wasn’t always here.
It Takes a Partnership
Plans to locate an FRCC center in Brighton started in 1998 with the City of Brighton, Brighton Economic Development Corporation and School District 27J. Brighton is a major trade area-serving residents and business from Brighton and eastern communities as far as Sterling. It made sense to the stakeholders mentioned above to work together to encourage higher education within the city of Brighton.
The Early Days
The first classes started spring semester (January) 1999 in the former 17th Judicial District Center of Adams County—a 50-year-old building located at 1931 E. Bridge Street in Brighton.
The building—renamed the Community Education Center—had three other tenants:
- Brighton Charter School,
- Adams County One-Stop, and
- Adams County Head Start.
The original center was approximately 3,400 square feet, including four classrooms and a computer lab, with access to additional classrooms and office space in adjacent parts of the building. Another classroom and small testing space were added later for a total of approximately 4,000 square feet. The official grand opening celebration was held on March 23, 2000.
Initial Student Profile
Initial enrollment included just 62 students with a student profile much like other campuses—except for the most remarkable representation of ethnic groups (40%). Of the 62 students, only one had previously attend FRCC or any other college, which indicated that the enrollments were not displaced from other campuses. It also demonstrated the need for higher education in the Brighton community.
Serving the Underserved
There are many things to be proud of in the development of the FRCC Brighton Center. Some of the more significant success have been with those underserved and most overlooked students in our society. Minority enrollments consistently represent the general population in Brighton and its surrounding area, and this demonstrates the college’s contribution and service to the community at large.
Developing Strong Relationships
Developing good relationships in the community added to the success of the Brighton Center. Programs such as the Counselor Breakfast with the school district high school counselors helped the center staff enjoy 100% counselor participation in working to increase the full-time enrollment at the college—especially at the Brighton Center. During Fall Semester 2007, a series of services termed Smart Start began, providing Accuplacer testing to a targeted population at the high school.
The Community Education Center Closes
FRCC Brighton Center received notice that the building at 1931 E. Bridge Street was scheduled for demolition because of deteriorating mechanical systems and other hazardous maladies of a 50-year-old building.
Platte Valley Medical Center (PVMC) started moving their campus to a new larger campus located at the eastern edge of Brighton in June 2006. Hospital Administrator John Hicks wished to find a suitable function for the former PVMC campus at 1850 E. Egbert St. in Brighton. His desire was to create a facility that would serve as a life-long learning center.
A New Use for the Former Medical Center
This was a great opportunity for Front Range Community College to not only maintain a presence in Brighton but to move to a larger, newly renovated center. The former PVMC facility was purchased by the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority (BURA) with a vision of converting it to a home for several community resources, including FRCC. The building provides an attractive space for students not found in any other sites in the Brighton area.
The Brighton Center Moves to its Current Home
FRCC has strong community partnerships and strong community backing for a continued FRCC presence. The City of Brighton, the Brighton Economic Development Corporation and other local organizations made a substantial effort to ensure FRCC’s relocation to the new facility.
The City of Brighton also expended considerable resources to ensure the relocation to an affordable site. It facilitated the purchase of the site by the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority—and pursued Community Development Block Grants and Energy Impact Grants, grants from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, as well as other funding sources—to pay for the purchase of the building.
In addition, the Platte Valley Medical Center Foundation donated $68,000 to provide equipment for an 11,000 square-foot science lab in the new facility, which is large enough to support 300 full-time equivalent students.
The facts in this post were obtained from a document prepared by former Brighton Center Director Evelyn Alton and Coordinator Diana Long.