Blair College, motivated by a near-doubling of its enrollment since 1998, just made it official: the school will move its local headquarters to a new facility near the intersection of Fountain Boulevard and Jetwing Drive on the city’s southeast side.
As a for-profit educational school, Blair College has offered two-year accredited degrees since 1953. It has also provided professional certification instruction in office and bookkeeping skills from as early as 1897 in Colorado. “We were one of the Pikes’s Peak region’s first businesses,” president Boyd recalls. “Though we originally opened in Pueblo, by the early 1900s Blair College had moved its operation to Colorado Springs.” Since 1983, the college has been located at 828 Wooten Rd., but a growing need for health care, administrative and computer/technical employees has forced school owners to address facility and program expansion.
The two-year degree institution, owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc. of Santa Ana, California, is scheduled to begin a long-term lease on its new facility on May 1, 2003. According to owner’s representative, Stan Kensinger of the Olive Real Estate Group, the building will be owned by Scottsdale Plaza Associates, LLC, a partnership comprised of Integrated Properties, Inc. of Denver, Kensinger and Olive broker, Jim Dibiase. Ground-breaking is set for mid-October. “We are obviously very pleased to have a group with such a successful track record in Colorado Springs as long-term tenant,” Kensinger said. Steve Bach of Bach Commercial represented Blair College in finding its new facility and the purchaser of the Wooten Road facility, the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in the deal.
The Boland Group, a Denver-based architect will design the facility, and the Alexander Building Company will handle construction. “The school’s exterior will closely resemble our adjacent building,” Kensinger said, referring to the partnership’s AeroTech Corporate Center which was designed for office or defense contracting occupants.
An important selling point for Blair College was the amount of parking available to its students and faculty. “We requested eight parking places per thousand,” Boyd said. The move comes just in time as crowded parking and classrooms had been an escalating concern at the school’s current location. Its new home will provide 30,000 square feet on one level and will include new classrooms, computer labs and medical training facilities along with administrative and student lounge areas.
“The new site represents an ideal fit for our student demographics,” says Blair President Joel Boyd. “We looked at other buildings up north and to the east, but this is really our epicenter,” he said. “And remodeling was not a viable option. Fortunately, we now also have room for expansion.”
Blair College’s typical student profile averages 27 years of age; female (90 percent or more); currently employed or just entering the workforce. Almost half of its students are enrolled for job retraining. “Our students do apply for federal student loans,” Boyd adds, explaining that acceptance is based on set eligibility requirements. Tuition runs $214 per credit hour.
“We will continue to offer programs in the booming health care career fields of medical assisting, medical coding/billing and in-office administration,” he added. Other degrees and certificates offered include network administration, accounting, business and paralegal training – and with future plans to add two programs in the criminal justice field.
The school’s parent company, Corinthian Colleges, Inc. is one of the largest for-profit post-secondary companies in the United States, currently operating 61 colleges in 20 states. Denver and Colorado Springs are home to three of those schools. The company currently serves 28,000 students annually – primarily those seeking career-oriented education in fields of increasing job opportunity.
“Our new location on a major thoroughfare, combined with a fresh new image and excellent instructors will no doubt allow us to build even larger enrollment,” Boyd said. “We serve an important need in the community; we allow people to get out of unemployment and back into a job.”
Boyd plans to host a preview open house at the new location later in October. “This represents a big step for Blair College,” he said. “We’re very fortunate that in spite of a tough economy, the business of education continues to grow.”