It was two years ago that on-campus nightlife at Colorado College became that much harder to access, forcing student bands and disc jockeys to take their tunes to the gauntlet of party houses off campus.
In February of 2011, The Catalyst falsely hypothesized there was only one person to blame: “So what happened to convert a laid-back rehearsal and performance stage into a hard-to-book, stressful building? Unfortunately, just one student, Silas Scheer, [and his] actions are literally impacting the entire campus.”
In the beginning of second semester in 2011, the Carriage House became more restricted for student use.
The Catalyst said one thing, but what really happened was a combination of CSPD appearances, complaints from students in Loomis, and noise issues raised by other Colorado Springs residents.
Those misunderstood problems weren’t limited to the Carriage House, but also extended to other campus events, drastically changing nightlife culture at CC.
“It was setting our students up for a bad situation,” said Rochelle Mason, Associate Dean of Students. “That’s the way we thought about it; we don’t want to set our students up to have the cops come onto campus every time they’re in the Carriage House and asking what are the students are doing here. We also didn’t want student in Loomis complaining about a dubstep concert in the Carriage House [while] they are trying to write a paper.”
A major issue was the lack of security at the Carriage House when events and shows would happen spontaneously.
In past years, CC has mandated that more events have security and not just those that are late at night and/or with alcohol.
“The college has used security for events for many years…In the past, events were smaller so Campus Safety would sometimes staff those, along with other professional staff,” Mason said. “But, the focus for Campus Safety has shifted to being out and about on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods, not staffing events, although they are still on hand to help us out.”
Recently, CC has made some changes, including contracting those services out to outside companies such as G4-S Security, an expensive process that, according to some, hasn’t always yielded the most positive results.
“Guards cost $27/hour per guard, at a minimum of four paid hours per guard,” said Bethany Grubbs, Student Life Specialist for Campus. “CCSGA and Campus Activities are both very understanding of the costs of guards and security, and help student groups with funding accordingly.”
CCSGA, through the Finance Committee, has covered all the mandatory security with Special Events money, which usually costs over $1,000 per event, said Stanley Sigalov, Finance Vice President of CCSGA. According to Sigalov, there have been several student complaints about the outsourced security company.
“I have heard stories of CC paying the full amount requested, but only part of the security staff showing up and showing up late,” he said.
The management of the Carriage House has gone through many changes over the last few years, and management has been bounced around from one organization to the next, such as CCSGA and SOCC.
But what does the future have in store for this on campus favorite?
Scheer played three shows at the Carriage House – once as a freshman and twice as a sophomore. He explained the process he went through in three steps: signing up (online) for a schedule date, getting approval from Rochelle Mason, and renting equipment from the audio-visual department.
That was two years ago. Mason explained that the current process of renting out the Carriage House involves either going to the Worner Desk or going online to see if the space you want is actually available for the date you would like. Then the request goes to Central Reservation Services and is later sent to Rochelle for approval.
If she has any further questions about what kind of event you’re having, she’ll call you in for further questions about the event.
“We want to make sure that Campus Activities is supporting the event. The turn-around time for this part of the process is usually a few days,” Mason said.
Although the turn-around time is quick, Campus Activities asks for at least 10 days of advanced notice so they can pull all the necessary resources, such as getting a noise ordinance, security, to make the event fun and safe for everyone.
The Carriage House still has a similar access process as it did two years ago, but it seems that students think that the process is more complicated than it actually is.
Mason said that the process is the same as booking any other space on campus like Gates or Gaylord.
If a student wishes to reserve a space for band practice or a meeting during the day, the process is much simpler because the school does not need to higher security or get a noise ordinance.
The Carriage House is an old CC staple for bluegrass bands and students DJs where they can perform relatively freely and spontaneously.
Although the procedure has changed, students are encouraged to continue to use the space for whatever activity they please, but to go through the process of checking it out so that the administration, other students, faculty, staff, Campus Safety, and the surrounding community are all on the same page.
Although the Carriage House is still a great venue—and hopefully there will be more shows and events there next semester—students still hope for a space that can be used more freely for band practices, art, music, and a place where their instruments can be stored safely so that they don’t have to haul them to and from their dorms or homes.
And Scheer is optimistic about the future.
“I’m hopeful that CC will be able to construct a new student space in coming years, one where musical and artistic expression can be practiced and enjoyed by all members of the student body,” Scheer said.