Durango Education – Fort Lewis College and 9R School District

Educational Facilities in and Around Durango


Durango School District 9-R

Durango School District 9-R serves the community through 11 schools, including 1 comprehensive high school, 2 middle schools, 7 elementary schools, and the EXCEL Charter School for 6th through 12th grade students. Enrollment has remained steady for the past several years at 4,900 students
201 E. 12th St., Durango, CO 81301
(970) 247-5411, ext. 1440

Fort Lewis College

Durango is home to Fort Lewis College, an independent four-year public liberal arts institution of 4,400 students, which offers 24 degree programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Education and Business Administration.

In addition to its educational mission, Fort Lewis College offers a wealth of service programs for the region, from Continuing Education classes to business consultation to support for the arts and other organizations. Because of its commitment to the state and region, the college has established itself as an integral, vital part of the Durango community.

The Fort Lewis College campus is located on a mesa overlooking Durango and the 13,000-foot peaks of the La Plata Mountains. It has been called one of the most beautiful campuses on the North American continent.

Today new buildings are taking shape in one of the most extensive construction projects in the College’s history. Since 1999, the college has invested more than $40 million in construction. Projects include a new $9 million chemistry building, a $10 million classroom building, a $7.5 million recreation building for student life, and the $8 million Center of Southwest Studies, a museum, archives, library and academic center for the college’s Anthropology and Southwest Studies programs. In addition, the campus recently completed a $2 million ADA accessibility project and a central clock tower as a memorial to the college’s historical roots as a military fort at Hesperus, Colorado. When construction is completed, the college will have one of the most modern facilities in Colorado.

Fort Lewis College has grown from an enrollment of 720 students in 1962 to its current population of 4,400. Today, more than 69 percent of the students come from Colorado, the rest hail from out-of-state. New Mexico, Arizona, California, Texas and Illinois send the greatest number of out-of-state students.

In-state, the Denver metro area contributes 19 percent of the student population; the five-county San Juan Basin area comprises 12 percent, with the rest coming from all areas of the state.

Fort Lewis College continues to grow because of several factors which students consistently cite in surveys conducted each fall: Location, quality of the academic programs and faculty, size of the institution and cost.

The college’s location in Southwest Colorado is a strong attraction for students and faculty alike. With mountains to the north and deserts to the south and west, Fort Lewis College is perfectly situated to take advantage of both worlds.

This diverse environment not only provides students with dozens of opportunities for recreation, but faculty use the surrounding mountains and deserts for many of their research courses and labs. In addition, the region’s communities, government agencies, tourist resorts and businesses provide excellent “real-life” learning opportunities that make the Fort Lewis College experience a liberal arts education that works.

Fort Lewis College’s academic programs are recognized nationally for their quality by several accrediting institutions, including:


The American Chemical Society

The National Association of Schools of Music

The American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business

The Colorado Program of Excellence Award for the Southwest Studies curriculum, Chemistry, Anthropology and Teacher Education

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

The American Council of Learned Societies

Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges

Five Colorado Professors of the Year, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997


Degree Programs

Associate of Arts Degree in Agriculture

Bachelors Degree in:



Business Administration with options in:
• Agricultural Business
• Engineering Management
• Finance
• International Business
• Management
• Marketing
• Operations Management
• Tourism Resort Management
Computer Science & Information Systems
English with options in:
• Education
• Communications


Exercise Science
General Science
Political Science
Sociology/Human Services
Southwest Studies
Student-Constructed Programs




Fort Lewis would not have the excellent academic programs it offers were it not for its faculty. Many are recognized nationally for their expertise in research, curriculum development and teaching. More than 91 percent hold doctorates or the highest degree attainable in their disciplines.

Faculty members frequently offer their services to the community as speakers, volunteers, board members and consultants. Fort Lewis College maintains a directory of faculty and their special interests.

Public Service
An important component of Fort Lewis College’s role in Southwest Colorado is public service. As a result, the college offers or co-sponsors several programs that aid in the economic and educational development of the region. Following are some of the programs available:

John F. Reed Library. Open to the public. Library holdings include 185,000 volumes, 900 journal subscriptions and wide selection of audiovisual materials. The library uses the INNOPAC systems as its online catalog.

Center of Southwest Studies. A museum, research facility and the focus for an interdisciplinary approach to the history and culture of the southwest. Contains nearly 4000 special collections of artifacts and historically significant records dating from the ancient days of the Southwest to the present, relating to the Four Corners region and Native Americans of the Southwest.

Office of Continuing Education. Offers a variety of courses on and off campus to satisfy personal and professional interests of Southwest Colorado community. Courses offered for credit and non-credit.

Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research. College-sponsored program through the School of Business Administration offering economic data analyses on business trends in the region.

Fort Lewis College Internship Programs. Almost all majors sponsor internship programs in which students provide services to a business or organization in exchange for a small salary and college credit.

Center for Service Learning. Connects students to assist community organizations to address community-defined problems within the context of an academic environment. The center is a member of the Colorado Campus Compact, a statewide organization of colleges and universities that promote the value of learning through community service.

Office of Community Services. Offers technical assistance to communities in the five-county Southwest Colorado region on significant policy issues having to do with human service programs, natural resource management, community and economic development.

Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado. Administers a revolving loan fund for small businesses and the Enterprise Zone tax credit program for new and expanding businesses in Southwest Colorado.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Provides free one-on-one counseling, consulting and low-cost training to small business owners throughout Southwest Colorado. Counseling and training topics include business plan writing, market research, marketing strategies, 8(a) certification assistance, financing, and buying and selling businesses. More than 200 businesses have graduated from the popular Leading Edge business management course presented by the SBDC. This center is one of 20 SBDCs in Colorado and 1500 in the United States.

Offices are located in the Fort Lewis College School of Business Administration. Call (970) 247-7009 for an appointment. Access web site at http://soba.fortlewis.edu.

Department of Local Affairs Field Office. State-funded program provides technical assistance to counties, cities and special districts.

Western Regional Issues Institute. An umbrella that houses the San Juan Forum and the Colorado Plateau Forum which strive to improve the quality of life and to achieve a healthy economy and environment in the Four Corners Region and the Colorado Plateau.

For more information about Fort Lewis College, contact the Office of College Relations, (970) 247-7400, Room 2400 Berndt Hall, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO 81301-3999.


San Juan Basin Area Vocational Technical School
The La Plata County area is blessed with a vocational and technical school. The main campus is located some 40 miles west of Durango, but the school offers evening classes in Durango, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs and other surrounding communities.

San Juan Vo-Tech is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Colorado State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. The Licensed Practical Nursing Program is also accredited by the Colorado State Board of Nursing.

Majors are offered in:

Agricultural Education

Auto Mechanics

Broadcast Media Production

Construction Technology


Administrative Assistant


Computer Information Processing

Computer Information Systems

Hospitality Management

Multimedia Technology

Diesel Engine Technology



Heavy Equipment Technology

Product Support Parts Specialist

Electronics (CISCO Regional Academy)

Emergency Medical Technician

Industrial Mechanics

CNC Machine Operation

Licensed Practical Nurse

Welding Technology

Pipe Welding

Other related vocational education





The school offers a variety of short term evening courses on a demand basis. Each Spring, it sponsors the second largest Emergency Medical Symposium in the United States and each Fall it sponsors a Fire Academy. Both are held at Tamarron Resort. Customized training for business and industry is also one of the functions of the Technical School. (970) 565-8457.


Pueblo Community College Southwest Center (PCCSWC)
PCCSWC is a fully-accredited two-year college that provides open door admission. The philosophy of the college is that all who feel they have the ability to benefit and the motivation to succeed should have access to higher education. This access is further enhanced through affordable tuition and fees.

As a community college, PCCSWC offers a wide range of courses. For those who need basic skills classes, it provides foundation courses in English and Math. A unique partnership with San Juan Basin Area Technical School allows students to complete certificate programs and to obtain associate degrees in Nursing, Electronics, Business and Office Technologies. Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science and Associate of General Studies two-year degrees may also be earned. PCCSWC works closely with Fort Lewis College to ensure a smooth transfer of credits for students.

The community college mission in southwest Colorado is to provide on-site educational opportunities in a five county service area by expanding both remedial and community college level courses in Bayfield, Cortez, Dolores, Durango, Ignacio, Pagosa Springs, Silverton and Towaoc. Students may enroll for a full-load course of study, with all classes after normal working hours (after 5:00 p.m.). Internet and telecourses are also available.

Cortez Campus (970) 565-8440
Durango Campus (970) 247-2929


San Juan College – Farmington, New Mexico
San Juan College is revered as one of the nation’s outstanding community colleges, offering a wide variety of academic transfer courses as well as technical-occupation programs in traditional career areas. In addition to the traditional academic courses such as English, History, and Mathematics, San Juan College has structured programs not found in any other accredited institution of higher education including Pilot Training, Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Water Treatment, Media Technologies and Communication, as well as Outdoor Leadership. Degree programs in Internet Technology or Computer Networking prepare students for Microsoft certification. Outstanding health-related programs include Nursing and Physical Therapist Assistant with a new program in Dental Assisting planned for the near future and a second program in Dental Hygiene soon to follow.

The Quality Center for Business, opened in 1999, provides an integrated system to promote the development of new and existing business. Through specialized training, the Business and Industry Training Center can tailor-make training programs to meet the unique requirements of businesses. Other entities in the Quality Center for Business include the Enterprise Center, which serves to incubate new business; the Small Business Development Center; and San Juan County Economic Development Service.



San Juan College
4601 College Blvd
Farmington, NM 87402
(505) 326-3311



Thanks to La Plata Economic Development Action Partnership and Indiana Reed for information on this page.