Looking back on 150 years: Front Range Community College opens in 1995

·3 min read

Jan. 2—For the past year, in honor of Longmont's 150th anniversary, the Longmont Times-Call has taken a look back at the stories that have made history. A newspaper article from the past has run once a month for a year.

This Daily Times-Call article on Front Range Community College opening in January 1995 marks the last in the series. It was part of a collection of stories about the college preparing to open later that month. Below is a transcript of that article:

The New Kid on the Block

President: Longmont a natural

The city of Longmont has been an educational opportunity waiting to happen, said the president of Front Range Community College.

"This is such a high-energy situation. Now people here have an open-door college," said Tom Gonzales. "We don't set admissions criteria that keeps people out."

Before coming to Colorado, Gonzales was chancellor of Seattle Community College since 1989. He has been the president of Front Range Community fir three years and said the location of the Longmont center that opens this month in Horizon Park at 2255 N. Main St. is ideal.

"It has had connections to education before as a one-time library site. There's plenty of parking in the lot and it is very accessible," he explained. The facility housed the Longmont Public Library while its new home was under construction.

Registration for classes at the center will be held at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Jan. 12. Classes begin Jan. 17.

Gonzales, who worked for the Community College of Denver in the late 1970s, said his center will offer residents a variety of options they never had before.

"We can bring education to people who did not complete high school. We can bring core curriculum to people who want to transfer to a four-year university, and we can offer skills updating classes to business people all in day or night classes."

Gonzales has also served as president of Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Ore., from 1981-89.

He said the Longmont education center will have a strong commitment to diversity on a variety of forms.

"We will do our best to be flexible in that center with our staff hirings and class offerings in the future. Many people in the Hispanic population need help accessing a fresh start," he said.

Longmont city leaders have had a positive spirit about the whole planning process, Gonzales stressed. These city leaders have made a commitment to bring educational services to Longmont.

"Now, we ... are making a commitment to work with the community to do just that," he added.

Gonzales said the whole process of planning and bring the education center to Longmont only took about 12 months. He said compared to the planning and negotiating involved in most other places like this the timeline here was much shorter.

"Even with all the construction and contractual elements involved, we did it. People here really wanted this, so they dug in to make it happen."

Gonzales said the college is a leader in customized and contracted training. Front Range helps businesses by educating their employees, even coming out to their location at times.

"Front Range staff have been meeting with local business leaders to talk about what programs to make available here in the future," he added.

Locating an education center here can also bring new businesses to the area, he said, because the center becomes part of the city's economic development team.

Gonzales said he hopes the center will be as welcomed by the public as it has been by city leaders. He said people at the center plan to meet the needs of Longmont the way the residents want them to be met.

"It will be a must for us to set up a feedback mechanism for dialogue with the people in the community. We hope they will come forth and tell us what we can do to help them grow."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting