Morgridge Foundation donates $1.25M for buildout of space above Glenwood Springs library

Hide Caption A $1.25 million grant from the Morgridge Family Foundation means that the space formerly known as Cooper Commons will now be called Morgridge Commons. The space is being constructed based on input from numerous educational, nonprofit and community groups from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, and will be available for public use in the fall of 2017.

Ongoing work to turn the upstairs space above the Glenwood Springs Library into a flexible community space just got a big boost — and a new name — as the project moves toward a fall completion.

Colorado Mountain College and the CMC Foundation announced Tuesday that the Morgridge Family Foundation has contributed $1.25 million to finish the work on what will become known as Morgridge Commons under the naming-rights gift agreement. The grant brings project funding from various outside entities up to $2.2 million.

CMC and the Garfield County Public Library District co-own the space. They joined forces in 2016 to turn 13,000 square feet of shared vacant space into a flexible, state-of-the-art venue for educational, nonprofit and public-sector groups to meet and have special events.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Morgridge family, whose support joins that of the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District, the Boettcher Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation and many community partners that helped create this truly unique community asset,” CMC President and CEO Carrie Besnette Hauser said in a prepared statement.

In addition to the Morgridge family gift, the project also received a $750,000 grant from the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District, the largest grant in that organization’s five-year history, as well as $175,000 from the Boettcher Foundation and $40,000 from the Gates Family Foundation.

Total project cost will be about $2.5 million, including furniture, fixtures, equipment and modern technology for multimedia presentations. CMC will cover the difference.

The Morgridge family has supported CMC for many years, and also gave a naming-rights gift for the Morgridge Family Academic Center at CMC Aspen in 1999 when Carrie and John Morgridge lived in Aspen. It was the first seven-figure grant ever made to the CMC Foundation.

Carrie Morgridge, author of “Every Gift Matters” and vice president of the Morgridge Family Foundation, also serves on CMC’s board of overseers, a group of voluntary advisers founded by Roaring Fork Valley philanthropist Jim Calaway. Morgridge will also be one of the college’s 50th anniversary commencement speakers in May.

“We are delighted to renew our support for Colorado Mountain College and invest in this exciting project,” Carrie Morgridge said. “The Morgridge Family Foundation focuses on transformative gifts that spark innovation, collaboration and leading practices in teaching, learning and community impact.

“The partnership between CMC and the Garfield County Public Library to activate this unique space for the benefit of western Colorado also put this project at the top of our list, and we’re proud to join the other funders that made it possible,” she said.

The space was designed with input from numerous educational, nonprofit and community groups from throughout the valley.

“Morgridge Commons is an opportunity unlike any other in the Roaring Fork Valley,” Kristin Heath Colon, CEO of the CMC Foundation, said in the news release. “It is a major project that is for the benefit of our entire region. … This gift will have lasting impact for our community for decades to come.”

In addition to offering space for training workshops, small meetings and larger conferences, the upstairs area will host CMC’s ArtShare program and related exhibitions.

A section of the upstairs that was originally planned to be the new children’s programming area for the library will now be part of the overall flex space. Jesse Henning, executive director for the library district, said it made more sense to keep children’s programming in the first-floor community room and open the upstairs area for other groups, in keeping with the goals for the upstairs area.

“We didn’t want to have our own chunk of space and doing our own separate thing, and instead wanted to have that area be more in line with what’s going on upstairs,” Henning said. “We now have access to that flex space, which gives us the ability to have some larger events such as a big-name author visit.

“We are very thankful to the Morgridge family for making such an investment in the Glenwood Springs community,” he said.

The facility is to be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to accommodate presentations, distance learning and public meetings, as well as a small kitchen for catering. The space is expected to be available for public use this fall.