Fort Lewis College News

News at Fort Lewis College

By the students, for the students

Students, faculty, and FLC supporters pitch in for the Student Union groundbreaking ceremony in 2009.

By the students, for the students. That's the story of FLC's new Student Union.

The $41.5 million refurbishing and expansion of the former College Union Building creates a vibrant new hub of campus life, energizing the student experience at FLC. And it has been, from conception to design to funding, a student-driven endeavor.

"The union is the living room of campus. And now we have a union for which we can be proud," says Vice President of Student Affairs Glenna Sexton. "For all the future Fort Lewis students, I thank the current Fort Lewis students. Because of them, there is a legacy for which they can be proud."

For a long time, both the Fort Lewis College administration and the student leadership had seen a need for a modern student union to replace the College Union Building, which opened in 1967. In the mid-2000s, representatives from the College administration and the student government began examining the possibilities for a new building, even traveling to other campuses across the country to view examples of student unions.

In 2006, it was time to act. And it was the students themselves who led the charge, by voting to institute a new student fee to pay the majority of the construction costs of a new student union for FLC. Private donors bridged the gap to the project's completion. (See sidebar)

It didn't end there, though. A major part of designing the actual building was getting student input. Early on, the new student union's architects placed banners with images of potential design ideas around the existing College Union Building and asked students to write their thoughts, ideas, and visions on those posters.

In just a few days, the pictures were covered with suggestions. Then the architects set to work, integrating as much that student input as possible into the building's design plans.

The result: A beautiful, modern, and environmentally sound center of student activities, academic explorations, and social interaction. Basically, a great place for FLC students to hang out, do stuff, meet people, and get things done -- together.

"Student participation, collective vision, and student funding are what make this building the students'," said Brayton Thurber (English, '07), student body president at the time of the student-fee institution. "That's a very exciting thing. Now, it's the students' house. This is something for students to call their own and improve upon for the next generations."

Private Donors

These generous donors each contributed $25,000 or more to the creation of the new Student Union. We couldn't have done it without them!

Allen and Pat Beaubien Born

AWC Family Foundation

Blackstone Charitable Trust


Boettcher Foundation

Coca Cola Bottling Company/Durango-Farmington

Colorado Department of Local Affairs

Don and Jan Ricedorff

El Pomar Foundation

Erteszek Family Foundation

First National Bank of Durango

J. Douglas and Priscilla H. Shand

James Foster

La Plata Electric Association, Inc.

Peter R. Decker and Family

Richard G. and Mary Lyn Ballantine

Robert and Kelly Hill

Ruth and Dave West

Terry R. Bacon and Debra A. Parmenter

The Don and Sandra Mapel Family

The Kresge Foundation


The John and Sophie Ottens Foundation


U.S. Department of Education


William and Beatrice Thurston

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