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By Angela Wirth

A diagnosis of cancer can be one of the most difficult things to hear, but fortunately, many patients fully recover if their cancer is detected early and treated effectively. 

Diagnosis and treatment can be especially challenging in smaller communities in rural areas, which often lack access to basic health care services, let alone specialty care. However, Pagosa Springs isn’t your average small town.

Since it opened three years ago, Pagosa Springs Medical Center’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has been an invaluable asset for residents of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area.

Having such a high level of care available so close to home has made a tremendous difference in people’s lives. Before the center opened, military veterans in Pagosa Springs who needed cancer treatments regularly traveled to Albuquerque to receive care. Others who needed cancer treatments also had to travel there, or to Durango or Denver, incurring additional travel expenses and experiencing higher levels of stress, inconvenience and interruptions to work and other aspects of daily life.

PSMC and the center offer not only diagnostics to detect cancers early, but also individualized treatments, including chemotherapy. In the center’s infusion center, staffed by experienced infusion nurses and support staff, patients can also be treated with hormonal therapy, immunotherapy and specialized infusion therapies for blood and autoimmune disorders. 

When a higher level of care is necessary, such as radiation, PSMC’s Cancer Center team coordinates care with specialists at other institutions, including nationally recognized cancer centers, to best address patient needs.

PSMC is fortunate to have a dedicated team of highly experienced cancer specialists to guide The Center through its unique challenges. The Cancer Center team includes Dr. Andrew Buck, oncologist and hematologist; Dr. Bill Jordan, oncologist; Dr. Roy Tinguely, general surgeon; Kelly Cesary, advanced oncology certified nurse practitioner; Lauren Muir, physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist; Christina Reeves, Director of Pharmacy and administrative director for the center; Dr. Jessica Cox, radiologist; an oncology nurse navigator, chemotherapy/biotherapy certified infusion nurses, and a social worker. 

The cancer team works together to develop treatment plans that focus not only on using the latest technologies and treatments, but treating every patient individually, with compassionate, personalized care. There is no single way to beat cancer; there are many, and the integrated care team at PSMC’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is here to help you every step of the way.

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Pueblo Community College Southwest

Learning technical skills, achieving a higher level of education and earning an associate degree or technical training certificate are very real possibilities for residents of Pagosa Springs.

What once was a smattering of vocational, technical and online studies has now been gathered under the umbrella of Pueblo Community College Southwest. 

Based in Pueblo, Colo., PCC has been offering community outreach education and training programs in southwestern Colorado for more than 30 years. 

PCC Southwest, a comprehensive two-year college, has three locations. The Southwest Campus is located in Mancos. The Durango site is located on the campus of Durango High School. The newest site in Bayfield is at 110 East South St., the former location of Bayfield Primary School.

Program and course offerings include health care, agribusiness, general education, welding, automotive service technology and college transfer classes. Many courses can be taken on campus or online.

PCC Southwest operates its locations with the aid of a regional advisory board with representatives from local counties, including Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata and Montezuma. The diverse regional representation assists PCC in highlighting the needs of local communities, such as workforce demands and education interests. 

For more information, visit pueblocc.edu/Southwest.

Fort Lewis College and Adams State University 

Pagosa Springs is situated between the sites of two higher learning establishments: Fort Lewis College in Durango and Adams State University in Alamosa.

Fort Lewis College

Serving the Four Corners for over 100 years, Fort Lewis College (FLC) is Colorado’s crossroads of education and adventure, where a uniquely beautiful mountain campus inspires an active and friendly community, and transformative learning experiences foster entrepreneurship, leadership, creativity and life-long learning.

Smaller classes (15:1 ratio of students to faculty with 98 percent of classes smaller than 50 students) is a hallmark for FLC.

There is a diversity of studies offered, with specially accredited programs in business, chemistry, engineering-physics and music. With over 50 student organizations, including NCAA Division II sports (in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), Fort Lewis College prides itself in not only community activities, but national and international activities through their Study Abroad and Village Aid Project programs. Fort Lewis College also offers internships, service learning, and rigorous undergraduate research opportunities.

Durango marries the educational requirements with the accessibility of the natural playground in which it is located.

Located 60 miles west of Pagosa Springs in Durango, travel to FLC from Pagosa Springs is just an hour.

Curiosity is our compass at Fort Lewis College. Learn more at www.fortlewis.edu.

Adams State University

Adams State University (ASU) is located in Alamosa, approximately 90 miles east of Pagosa Springs. 

ASU is a comprehensive institution offering bachelor degrees in over 60 areas of study, in addition to 11 master’s-level programs and one doctoral program.

ASU is distinguished by caring professors and a diverse, yet close-knit community. The average class size is 18.

ASU was Colorado’s first four-year higher education institution to be federally designated a Hispanic Serving Institution, with 35 percent of undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic.

With about one-third of the student body participating in athletics, the Adams State Grizzlies compete in the NCAA Division II and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Adams State has over 40 student clubs and organizations.

An intimate campus with tree-lined walkways, state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, supportive programs and a vibrant student life await ASU students.

For more information about ASU, visit www.adams.edu.

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Location

Archuleta County is located in southwest Colorado, situated at the junction of U.S. 160 and 84 at an elevation of 7,079 feet. The county seat, Pagosa Springs, is located 30 miles north of the New Mexico border, and 60 miles east of Durango. It is also near the Four Corners region where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet.

Physical Description

Archuleta County is comprised of 872,960 acres. Only 34 percent of lands in Archuleta County are in private ownership. Tribal lands comprise 14.4 percent of the county. Most of the northern and eastern portions of the county (51.6 percent) are within the San Juan National Forest. There is a total of approximately 2.8 million acres of National Forest and Bureau of Land Management surrounding Archuleta County.

Population Archuleta County

Source: US Census Bureau State & County QuickFacts

2020 census — 13,359

Housing and Income 

Median value owner-occupied housing — $314,400

Households — 5,858

Persons per household — 2.23

Per capita money income — $31,629

Median household income — $52,221

Persons in poverty — 9.4 percent

Geography

Land area (square miles) — 1,350

Persons per square mile — 8.9

Taxes

Sales and User Tax: 2.9 percent state, 4 percent county. County sales tax revenue is divided
between county and town.

Lodger’s Tax: A 4.9 percent tax is collected from the lodging industry in town limits. The county collects a 2 percent tax for lodging. Lodging tax is used for tourism promotion, among other things.

Primary Source of Town & County Revenue: Retail sales taxes, property taxes and charges for services.

Government

Town Government: www.pagosasprings.co.gov

Home Rule Municipality

Town council with elected mayor and six councilors elected for alternating four-year terms, town manager is appointed. Date of incorporation: 1891.

County Government: www.archuletacounty.org.

Three county commissioners elected for alternating four-year terms.

Media 

Newspaper: The Pagosa Springs SUN 

     www.pagosasun.com, (970) 264-2100

Education

Archuleta School District 50 Joint Office (970) 264-2228, www.mypagosaschools.com

  • High School (970) 264-2231
  • Middle School, 5th-6th grades (970) 264-2256
  • Middle School, 7th-8th grades (970) 264-2794
  • Elementary School (970) 264-2229
  • San Juan Mountain School (970) 264-2231, ext. 9247

Pagosa Peak Open School (970) 317-2151

The Training Advantage (970) 264-5627

GOAL Academy (877) PRO-GOAL

Utilities

Electric

La Plata Electric Association (970) 247-5786, www.lpea.coop

Gas/Natural

Black Hills Energy (888) 890-5554, www.blackhillsenergy.com

Water

Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation (970) 731-2691, www.pawsd.org

Sanitation

Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation (970) 731-2691, www.pawsd.org

Town of Pagosa Springs, (970) 264-4151  www.pagosasprings.co.gov

Trash At Your Disposal (970) 731-4892

Elite Recycling & Disposal (970) 731-2012

Waste Management (970) 264-5622

County Transfer Station (970) 264-5660

Tourism & Business Development

Pagosa Springs Community Development Corp. www.pagosaspringscdc.org, (970) 264-2360

Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce www.pagosaspringschamber.com, (970) 264-2360

Pagosa Springs Area Tourism www.visitpagosasprings.com, (970) 585-1200 or (866) 438-4917

Pagosa Springs Official Visitor Guide™ www.explorepagosa.com, (970) 264-2100

Pagosa Springs Real Estate and Relocation Guide www.ExplorePagosa.com, (970) 264-2100

The Pagosa Springs SUN and PREVIEW wwwPagosaSUN.com, (970) 264-2100

Region 9 Economic Development District (970) 247-9621, www.scan.org

Fort Lewis College Small Business Development (970) 247-7009, http://sbdcfortlewis.org/

Related Website Links & Info

Association of Realtors – www.pagosaspringsrealtors.com

U.S. Postal Service – Hot Springs Boulevard, (970) 264-5440

U.S. Forest Service – Pagosa Ranger District Office (970) 264-2268, www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan

Colorado State University Extension Office – (970) 264-5931, www.archuleta.colostate.edu

Ruby Sisson Memorial Library – (970) 264-2209, pagosalibrary.org

Stevens Field Airport – (970) 731-3060,  FBO (970) 731-2127,  www.archuletacounty.org/45/Airport, AWOS frequency 127.175

Durango-La Plata County Airport, www.flydurango.com  

Road Conditions

Colorado Department of Transportation 

     511 or (303) 639-1111, www.cotrip.org

Archuleta County Road Report 

     (970) 264-5555

New Mexico Road Report

    (800) 432-4269, www.nmroads.com

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