Governor John Hickenlooper made a brief stop in Delta Saturday afternoon to sign the bill renaming Delta-Montrose Technical College. The new name -- Technical College of the Rockies -- better reflects the broader community served by the technical college, said Michael Klouser, the new director of the technical college.
"The name change will help not only the college, but also the community, by highlighting what we have to offer," he said.
"This is a very exciting and special day for us," said school superintendent Caryn Gibson. Before the governor put pen(s) to the bill, she provided a brief history of the college.
DMTC is a public institution and was established by Colorado statute as an area vocational school in 1977, she said. Delta-Montrose Area Vocational-Technical School was initially owned jointly by Delta County Joint School District and Montrose School District.
In 1984, DCSD purchased Montrose County's share of the school.
In 2005, the name of the school was changed to Delta-Montrose Technical College.
DMTC is one of just three technical colleges in the state, Gibson said, and the only one located in a rural community. The college offers 22 postsecondary certificates and six secondary certificates to high school students from Delta and Montrose counties. Continuing education and specialized industry training are also offered.
During the 2015-16 school year, 646 students were enrolled in postsecondary certificates program, 91 were students enrolled in secondary programs, 68 high school students took concurrent enrollment classes, meaning they earned high school and college credit, and 254 students were enrolled in continuing education and other offerings.
"Our completion rate is around 93 percent," Gibson said, "and 97 percent of our students pass the licensure exams in their area." Placement rate is about 86 percent, providing students with "good bang for the buck," she said.
"As we look forward to our 40th year in education, DMTC -- soon to be Technical College of the Rockies -- we will continue to offer quality education we have always offered through our campus in Delta, while increasing our presence in other communities of our service area."
DMTC's service area, defined by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, covers 10,000 square miles to the southeast and the southwest of Delta.
In addition to expanding secondary and postsecondary options in outlying areas, high speed broadband will offer opportunities to expand the college's online presence.
The technical college recently purchased the old City Market/Chaco building and is partnering with DCED to create an Innovation Center. The current site south of Delta will also see changes, with new signage and an upgrade to the interior of the main building.
"This name change is just the start of many exciting and progressive things we hope to do for our students, for our community and our service area to prepare our students for today and for the future," Gibson said.
In addition to Governor Hickenlooper, the ceremony was attended by Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, Sen. Don Coram, school board members Tammy Smith, Jill Jurca and Jan Tuin, Tony Bohling, assistant technical college director, and representatives from Delta County, Montrose County, Delta County Economic Development, Delta Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Delta.
Gibson expressed her appreciation to Senator Coram, Senator Kerry Donovan, Representative Yeulin Willett and Representative Millie Hamner for carrying the technical college bill.
Governor Hickenlooper touched briefly on the recent legislative session, his seventh. "This was the best legislative session since I became governor. We got more done because Republicans and Democrats, despite their differences, were willing to make compromises.
"What's moving Colorado forward, and I think what's going to move this technical college forward, is more people behaving like public servants and less like Democrats or Republicans."
The governor used a number of pens to affix his signature to the bill, then handed out the pens as mementoes of the occasion.