CU medical campus plans a good first step for 6035

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Operation 6035, the fledgling economic development group, announced this week that its first project would be to try to attract a University of Colorado School of Medicine campus at UCCS.

Sounds like a great first step.

Though the deal is far from complete and no one knows where the private funding needed to launch a project like this will come from, a medical campus would bring the high-grade young professionals the city is seeking to attract.

Those students could also become part of tomorrow’s high-earning, technology work force the Angelou Economics economic analysis performed last year says the city needs.

And who knows, a medical campus might even help lure medical device manufacturers and related medical industry companies to the city.

This initiative will, we hope, represent the group’s first foray into much larger territory and much bigger accomplishments.

After all, 6035 Executive Director Phil Lane likes to say the group’s raison d’etre is to produce the “renaissance of Colorado Springs.”

As the 6035 team well knows, it will take much more than a medical branch campus with an expected 36 students to usher in a renaissance.

Lane said 6035 has another 10 economic development projects lined up for the next eight to 10 months.

There’s at least one area that will require close thought.

As reported by the Business Journal’s Becky Hurley in last week’s edition, a UCCS report by Dr. Fred Crowley’s MBA class has concluded it might not be so wise for the city to try to make itself into a renewable energy hub. 6035’s guiding strategy from Angelou Economics suggests we do just that.

But Crowley’s class generated a 226-page assessment that strongly suggested the Pikes Peak region’s odds of success in the renewable energy field are slim, mostly because the city is too far behind the ball and would be competing with other cities that have an established foothold.

The report also said the city is lacking many critical resources needed for such a base, things such as manufacturing facilities, rail service, alternative or biofuel sources, wind or enough days of sunshine that are necessary to power large solar arrays or wind farms that feed the nation’s grid systems.

What the assessment did suggest is that the region would be better off capitalizing on its intellectual capital and technical know-how to get new energy sources to market.

We urge the 6035 team to carefully consider Crowley’s assessment.

We also urge it remain fluid in decision-making process, while considering and incorporating what it deems to be Angelou Economic’s best suggestions.