Dear FRCC Community,
After a lot of analysis and discussion, Westminster Campus Vice President Tricia Johnson and I have made the difficult decision that FRCC will close its Brighton Center this June.
Dr. Johnson and her team have examined the center’s financial situation and its recent enrollment trends—and have concluded that the declining number of students taking classes at the center does not justify the significant cost of operating it. At current enrollment levels, we estimate that the center loses almost $500,000 annually, without even counting general college costs like payroll and accounting, information technology, etc. As a community college with limited resources, that is not an amount we can ignore.
Over the last 12 years at the current site, the center has generally averaged a little more than 100 full-time equivalent students (FTE) annually. The center did not cover all of its costs at that level, but it was close enough to keep trying.
We have worked hard for years to keep the center open and build enrollment in hopes of serving more students in the Brighton area. We have continued these efforts given the population growth in the region and what seemed like long-term potential for growth.
However, for the last two years enrollment has now dropped to around 40 FTE. This means we are running very small classes that don’t allow for rich discussions, we frequently have to cancel classes and we cannot offer students many class choices.
We have debated whether Brighton enrollment might pick back up when the pandemic ebbs. But because FRCC has increased our real-time remote (video-conference) and online learning offerings—coupled with the gradual decline in community college enrollment overall—we don’t feel that we can count on sufficient enrollment growth at the center to make it viable and sustainable.
Serving Students in Brighton
We are confident that FRCC will be able to continue providing access to education for our Brighton Center students, even after the center closes:
- Most of our students who live in Brighton (almost 80%) already take classes at the Westminster Campus.
- Of FRCC students who live in Brighton, only 22% of enrollments were at the Brighton center.
- Of students who attend classes at the center, most live at least as close to another FRCC campus as they do to the Brighton center.
We are reaching out directly to every student who takes classes in Brighton. We’re making advisors available to help any of them who might need assistance—and we will work with them to ensure they can continue their education with us in a way that works for them.
We will also continue to offer robust concurrent enrollment offerings for high school students in the Brighton area. FRCC has strong partnerships with School District 27J as well as area charter schools, and we plan to continue to build and strengthen those relationships.
Supporting the Brighton Community
The decision to close the Brighton Center was an extremely difficult one for me personally. FRCC staff and leaders have dedicated so much time over the years to trying to make the center successful. I myself have spent several hundred hours in Brighton, working with community leaders and negotiating the construction of the current center. The college has also dedicated significant financial resources to keeping the center open since 1998.
Please know that we continue to be committed to the educational goals of our students in the area and to supporting the Brighton community. We are also working on maintaining our welding and phlebotomy classes in Brighton, as the two career-technical programs offered at the center.
Supporting Brighton Center Staff
There are three staff members at the center—their jobs will continue through June of 2022. There are also two faculty members who are partly assigned to Brighton—they will change to full-time assignments at the Westminster Campus.
We are working directly with the three staff folks to try to find other employment options at the college. We currently have open positions at the Westminster Campus that might be a good fit, if they are interested. We will continue to work to provide opportunities at the college for all of the employees from the Brighton Center—and hope to find positions that match their interests and skills.
I’m sorry to not have better news to share today. In this challenging economic time, we have had to make some hard decisions to allow FRCC to continue to serve almost 30,000 students each year in credit and non-credit programs.
We will continue do our best to create a strong college that can provide an outstanding education to our students.
Andy Dorsey, President
Front Range Community College