Gold mining company kicks off voc-ed center for Cripple Creek-Victor students

Author: Debbie Kelley, The Gazette - March 21, 2018 - Updated: March 21, 2018

Ore is mined from the open pit at the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company in 2015. (The Gazette file photo)

A gold mining company is donating $275,000 to help build a vocational and technical education center for Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1.

“The need is very evident,” said district Superintendent Les Lindauer. “About 25 years ago, schools abandoned the old shop classes, and they’re all coming back. It’s what students and communities want.”

Newmont Mining Corp., which operates the Cripple Creek & Victor Mine in Victor, solidified its offer at a school board meeting Monday night.

The company donated $50,000 in December for the project and now will provide $75,000 a year for three years.

The center will offer automotive, welding, woods manufacturing and design programs.

Construction could begin next year on the center, which likely will be erected on a parking lot south of the middle and high school.

“Career technical education is really important to mining and Newmont,” said Lorna Shaw, a spokeswoman for the Cripple Creek & Victor Mine.

“We have a lot of jobs available in Teller County, and if there was a career technical center to help prepare students for those jobs, it could be very beneficial for the community, the school district and Newmont.”

The mining company also funded a $5,250 conceptual design and cost analysis, which T-Bone Construction of Colorado Springs performed last year.

It estimated the project cost at $1.8 million.

Lindauer said the district is applying for more grants, too.

“We’ll continue raising as much money as we can for additional commitments toward a career technical education center,” he said.

While welding and automotive trades training would most benefit the mine, the superintendent said, the goal for the center is “to have students recognize the value of gaining skills” for many applications and become productive citizens.

“It goes without saying that students learn best when they have hands-on activities and experiences,” Lindauer said. “We hope to gain a lot from this. I think enrollment, academic achievement and graduation rates will improve.”

The district has about 340 K-12 students this school year, a slight increase over last year.

Newmont also donated $600,000 last year to local organizations and to preserve historic structures, Shaw said.

“When we look at requests for community projects, we look at the impact those dollars will have on Teller County and the immediate Cripple Creek and Victor communities,” she said. “It’s a factor in our process.”

Debbie Kelley, The Gazette

Debbie Kelley, The Gazette