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Old 12-30-2011, 01:52 AM
 
Location: Fayetteville, AR
4 posts, read 5,949 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi all!

I'll start by saying that I've read nearly all of the discussions about Grand Junction on this website, and it has been extremely useful. But, I do have a few additional questions, and would be delighted to hear from some current residents.

First, about me. I'm finishing up my PhD at the University of Arkansas, and have an upcoming interview at Colorado Mesa University for a faculty position. In all honesty, I was hoping to move back east (I'm from Maine, and my husband is from Northern Virginia, near DC), but so far CMU is the only place that has offered me an interview. I have a good feeling about their impression of me so far, so I anticipate receiving a job offer in early to mid February.

The things that concern me about Grand Junction revolve mostly around my husband, and his job possibilities. He has a BA in English, but has never "used it," so to speak. He's currently a 911 dispatcher, and has worked as a CNA, mental health professional, and casino security supervisor. We hope that if we move to GJ he'll get a job at the police department (as a dispatcher or maybe an officer), or perhaps at the hospital. He's also considered getting a nursing degree. Does anyone have any insight about the local police department or hospitals? Do they give preference to local residents, as compared to "transplants"? Are the hospitals and police of good quality and/or respected in the community?

Speaking of respect, I'm curious about how CMU influences GJ. Is it a college town, or just a town that happens to have a college? Do people like the college, or wish it wasn't there? I'm slightly discouraged by the low graduation rate (~10% graduate in four years, which is quite low), which makes me concerned that the students might not be very motivated, and that this might translate into resentment about the college among local residents.

I've been obsessed with searching for housing on Craigslist, and have noticed that is somewhat high considering salaries in the area. (My salary as a faculty member would be lower than the national average, but manageable if my husband gets a decent paying job). I imagine that we'll have up to $1200 or to spend on rent (we're not interested in buying, at least for a few years), but would prefer to stay around $1000. Being unfamiliar with the area, could we find a single-family home, or perhaps nice duplex or townhouse, for this price? And would it be in a good neighborhood? I'd like to be close to the college, since that's where I would work. Are the neighborhoods surrounding CMU safe and friendly? I know that at the Univ. of Arkansas the immediate area is dominated by apartment buildings meant for undergraduates, and we are definitely not interested in living in an apartment.

Finally, I've read some mixed opinions about entertainment options in GJ. We're not "party people," but we're a young-ish (late 20s, early 30s) couple that likes to go out and have a nice dinner, glass of wine, or couple of beers maybe two or three times a month. It seems to me that there are some pretty nice pubs and restaurants downtown, but others have said that nightlife is "non-existant." Again, we don't need a lot. Here in Fayetteville we've found a couple of restaurants and a couple of bars (geared toward a more mature clientele) that we like, and that's good for us. As long as there is SOMETHING, we would be fine.

Finally, just to give you an idea of where we're coming from, Fayetteville AR is a city of about 73K in the Ozark Mountains (which are actually just big hills, lol). We're about 20 miles south of Bentonville, the home of Wal-Mart, and that has a definite influence on the area. We are generally more liberal; socially I consider myself very liberal, and economically I consider myself moderate to somewhat liberal. However, we do not consider ourselves extremists, in the sense that we try to avoid talking about politics and religion, and are respectful of a variety of opinions. (Also keep in mind that we're living in Arkansas, which is extremely conservative, and we're totally fine with this town.) We like to do short, weekend road trips, which during our time in AR have included trips to Branson MO, Hot Springs AR (home of Bill Clinton, FYI), and Dallas/Forth Worth. We're not exactly "outdoors" people, but enjoy exploring when there's something to see (e.g., caves or mountains or waterfalls). I consider myself a person that likes to take pictures; I'm not serious enough about it to call myself an amateur photographer, but I definitely like to find great shots of landscapes and wildlife. I find the idea of the Monument and Grand Mesa very appealing, as well as traveling a bit further to see Moab/Arches and the Rockies, and taking long weekend or weeklong trips to the front range, SLC, Albuquerque, Vegas, and maybe even California (I've got lots of friends in San Diego).

So, I know I've asked a lot of questions, but hope I've provided enough information to get some honest feedback about how we would like living in the area. I'm probably most interested in how easy and/or difficult it is to get a job at the local hospitals or PD, for my husband, as we certainly could not live the life we want on my salary alone. THANKS!!!
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:26 AM
Status: "Not politically correct" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,567 posts, read 11,666,560 times
Reputation: 24270
I'll just say...GO HOGS GO!

Junction isn't the college town Fayettenam is, there's no Dickson Street, and everything doesn't revolve around the school like it does there with the Hogs. As far as your husband getting an GJPD or any PD here, he has to first go through a private police academy at his expense, then after he graduates start applying. Competition is fierce for the one or two openings there may be. Dispatch positions are more available in GJ or Montrose, the two dispatch centers here on the western slope. Get ready to dispatch for 20-40 different agencies.

The Grand Mesa at 11,000 feet is a 30 minute drive from GJ, and offers great mountain scenery. Powderhorn Ski Area is located there along with tons of lakes, trails, and things to do. It's brown brown brown and is more desert than anything else. Hot as Fayetteville in summer but with no humidity, winters are cold and crisp, Fayetteville gets more snow I think. Of course no tornadoes or ice storms here either.

GJ has the same things Fayetteville does, same stores, same restaurants (no Eureka Pizza though), and a nice mall. Traffic around the mall is as insane as traffic at College and Joyce is too.

Anyway best of luck to you both.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:49 AM
 
Location: Fayetteville, AR
4 posts, read 5,949 times
Reputation: 15
Woo pig sooie!! Looking forward to the Cotton Bowl!

Thanks for the info; I did not realize that my husband would have to foot the bill for the police academy training. That's something we'll definitely have to take into consideration!

And thanks so much for the comparisons with Fayetteville! It's so great that you have experience with both places. It seemed to me that GJ might be a similar town, and you have confirmed this for me. I can't wait to get out there for my interview and check it out! THANKS!
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:05 AM
Status: "Not politically correct" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,567 posts, read 11,666,560 times
Reputation: 24270
You're welcome! Be sure to visit, ask locals plenty of questions while there. Good luck to you both.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Colorado Plateau
1,133 posts, read 3,183,998 times
Reputation: 1227
I am a recent graduate of the college, from 2009. It was Mesa State College back then. I'm one of the ones that took 4+ years to graduate . I was a very non-trad student, in a hard science program. They were giving me so much financial aid (grants and scholarships) that I kept going to school until they told me I had to graduate. I took 6 years! I just kept taking classes.

I don't know if they are giving out financial aid like that these days (and many students don't seem to go looking for it) but I think that many incoming students to CMU need to take remedial classes just to get up to speed. That may account for the longer time until graduation. There are also many non-trad students who may go to school p/t so they can work and take care of family.

In the science programs, some students were quite motivated and went on to grad schools and others struggled.

I did really like the small class sizes and accessibility to professors for help on class work. I got through some tough classes by visiting the instructor every week.

What program are you interviewing for?

Being an older student I got along well with many instructors, usually on a first name basis. I got to hear some about the instructor pay and relations to administration.

I think it is a town with a college, that would like to be a college town. I don't think there is resentment toward the college from the locals.

I live near the college and I like the neighborhood just fine. It's not an upscale area of town, it's an older part of town, but we can walk to many stores and restaurants. I used to walk to classes every day.

The college has been expanding tremendously in just the past couple of years. They have expanded and built several new structures and dorms. Big $. I wonder what the future of this college is if the student loan bubble has an event and if the student population decreases.

I think the biggest asset of the GJ area is the outdoor activities. Amazing area for hiking, bike riding and camping. Plenty of public land right at the edge of town. I got my degree in geology so I find plenty of great geology right outside my door. Utah close by is great too.
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, AR
4 posts, read 5,949 times
Reputation: 15
Hi eofelis! Definitely didn't mean to sound like I was disparaging the school or students. It took me 6 years to get my BA too! But a 10% rate is on the low side, and I wonder what factors might be contributing to this. (However, keep in mind that most state schools are around 25%, which isn't great either).

I know the school is growing very rapidly, and while I think this is exciting, it also concerns me a little bit. I would love to have small classes and devote lots of attention to my students, but the current student to faculty ratio is 22:1, which is really not that low for a school that sells itself as a liberal arts college. I'm concerned that CMU might be bringing in more and more students but failing to hire faculty fast enough to maintain the small class sizes that used to be typical. I would be in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department, and I would also be replacing a retiring faculty member, so the department is not expanding. And, I have the impression that I would be teaching at least 240 students per semester (and perhaps over 300), across 3 or 4 courses; this is a whole heck of a lot of students, and makes it difficult to give personalized attention to everyone that wants or needs it. But, we'll see how it is when I get there. I'm hopeful; the faculty seem pleasant and committed to teaching and advising, which is what I'm looking for. I am also really encouraged by CMU's committment to helping first-generation college students, since I am one myself; the advising I received during my undergraduate career led me to where I am now, getting my freakin' doctorate!

Also, I'm glad to hear that you were on a first-name basis with your instructors. I fancy myself a more casual instructor, and it's good to know that informality may be a norm at CMU. I'm not interested in making students call me "Dr." or "Professor," or wearing a suit everyday, but this is normative at some colleges and universities.

Thanks for your comments and insights! It is greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,209,245 times
Reputation: 3316
I didn't realize Mesa State is now a university! Both my husband and I attended Mesa State after obtaining bachelor's degrees at Colorado State University. My husband went through the nursing program (which is a great program), and I did the post baccalaureate elementary education certification program. We both had a good experience at the college and had great instructors. I'm thinking that the 10% graduation rate is a result of many students transferring out of Mesa before graduation. Since it now has university status, I imagine this number will change.

In terms of Grand Junction, it's not a bad place to live, but it wasn't really our cup of tea. We both were in our late twenties when we moved there, and finally decided to leave after almost 7 years. We had a hard time making friends in our age group who didn't have kids and family obligations. However, we really enjoyed the outdoor access and weather! The nightlife was pretty slow, but there are a few places to go. Most of the neighborhoods near the college are older, but nice. We lived in Orchard Mesa, which is across the river, and that was one thing we really regretted. While it wasn't far from town, we pretty much had to drive everywhere. GJ is conservative, but nothing like the Bible belt. I think you'll be fine in regards to that.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:27 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,101 times
Reputation: 10
Default Best places to live for late 20's single?

Hi,

I wanted to jump on this post because I think a few of you on here may have some good opinions on where to live in Grand Junction, Colorado.

I'm moving for a job I got in Grand Junction and I'm bringing my small dog. I just want advice on a safe place to live that is dog friendly!

Thank you in advance! Cheers!
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:06 AM
 
16,189 posts, read 20,208,818 times
Reputation: 46757
I'll assume you are looking for a house as you have a dog, can't really help you too much regarding apartment houses anyway.

There are several areas of the older part of Grand Junction I like, probably the one area I like the most is the Lincoln Park area. That covers the area from 12th and Gunnison to 7th and Rood. The next street south is Main and it has rentals but there are several small businesses there. Older neighborhood but decent 2, 3, and 4 bedroom homes. Lincoln Park is the nicest one in GJ and during spring and summer there is always something going on regarding weekends. North of Lincoln Park are Suplizio Field (home of the Grand Junction Rockies-the minor league parent club of the Colorado Rockies. Next to that is Stocker Stadium which is used for high school football games and Colorado Mesa University football games.

Other areas would be the areas south of the hospitals and some of the subdivisions north of Patterson from 15th east heading towards 31 road. Most of this part of town though is HOA stuff and another quick point would be rentals are pricey. Some of the real estate companies are involved with property management. Probably the most noted is Bray and Company. Others would be Century21 and Keller Williams. There are others of course. I'm sure the Chamber of Commerce might help you. Good luck!
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