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History of the Grand Junction Regional Center

The 160 acre parcel of land on which the Grand Junction Regional Center campus is located was formerly owned by the United States Government. In 1885, construction began on the Teller Institute, an Indian boarding school. By 1900, the school had an enrollment of about 200 students, including members of the Ute, Navajo, Papago, Moquis, Shoshone, and Pima tribes. With the Federal Government’s decision to return Native American students to their homes for their education, the Teller Institute was closed in July 1911. Shortly after that, its assets were liquidated, and it was discovered that groundwater was seeping into the basements of some buildings because of uncontrolled irrigation water. The buildings and land were given to the State of Colorado later that year.

After the buildings had been vacant for several years, the State opened a training school in 1921, known as the State Home for Mental Defectives, to serve “handicapped and retarded students.” The name was later changed to the State Home and Training School. By the 1960’s upwards of 800 people lived at the State Home, where some went to school and others worked on a dairy farm within the plot of land owned by the State. The name of the facility was changed to the Grand Junction Regional Center in the late 1970’s. Ten community homes were built in the mid 1980's, each with the capability of serving eight people. With the national movement to return people with developmental disabilities to their communities and away from large, congregate settings, the number of people served on the Regional Center campus has gradually decreased. Another Personal Care Alternative (PCA) home was opened in the mid 1990's and two additional leased homes were opened in 2001.

In 1999, the State of Colorado deeded twenty-five acres of vacant land on the east side of the campus to the Department of Veterans Affairs to be used as a Veterans' cemetery. The new Veteran's Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado was dedicated on July 17, 2002 and is now serving Colorado Veterans and their families.

 

Teller Institute