Super site

CNCC officials hope to see rec center, new hospital, new campus in one place

Supporting mind, body and health, all in one location.

That's what could happen if a hospital, recreation center and college are all constructed at one site on the west end of Craig, said John Bengston, vice president of Paulien & Associates, Inc., which has been hired to develop a master plan for a new Colorado Northwestern Community College campus in Craig.

It's a concept still early in development but local officials have come together to try and make that concept a reality.

City, college and hospital officials gathered Monday at the CNCC Board of Control meeting to discuss where Paulien & Associates, Inc., were in its plans and if it would work to construct all three facilities at one site.

The CNCC board unanimously approved a motion to provide land to the city and the hospital for construction of a recreation center and hospital at the same site at which it hopes to construct a new college within the next four to five years.

The board also agreed to share in any necessary infrastructure costs with the city and hospital.

Board members approved the motion, keeping in mind that neither the city nor the hospital has finalized plans to build at the CNCC site.

City officials said in the meeting that a decision would be made within the next month to put a recreation center at the CNCC campus or in the old Country General Store.

Once that decision is made, plans must still be finalized and the decision of whether or not to build a new facility would still have to come before local voters, likely in this year's November election.

Meanwhile, The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees still must decide on one of several parcels of land submitted through a recent formal site proposal review process in which residents proposed potential building sites for a new hospital.

Dean Hollenbeck, vice president of CNCC, said in a time of government cutbacks, the state funding source for a new campus would look keenly upon a proposed campus adjacent to a new hospital and recreation center.

"For us to move ahead with the college, it's not one of those things we can't do without," he said of the other facilities being built at the same site. "But it is important to us to form these partnerships. The financial people we talked to said, 'Wow.' They're talking to us because of these partnerships. These partnerships will be a jump start for us even in today's slow economy."

Potential benefits of building all of the facilities at the same site mentioned in Monday's meeting included the sharing of:

  • Radiology equipment between TMH and CNCC's nursing program.
  • Food services between TMH and CNCC.
  • Day care services amongst all three facilities.

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said the partnerships could aid the city in garnering community support for a recreation center.

"If we could nail some of these things down prior to going to a vote, it could bode a lot better with the community," he said.

Bengston said he thought the recreation center and college especially could benefit from one another, as far as funding approval from the taxpayers and state.

"It's as important that the recreation center be approved for the college as the college be approved for the recreation center," he said.

Ferree said a preliminary cost for infrastructure at the new site, which the different entities could split, was $1 million.

Another factor that will play into the planning of site development, officials said, is the different projected time lines of each facility.

Best case scenario for construction of each facility is TMH, 2003, recreation center, 2006, CNCC, 2007.

Hollenbeck said he hoped the different entities could make the plan work.

"What we envision is a complex where we can bring some marvelous things to the community," he said. "This is going to be one of those things people from outside of Craig look at and say, 'I want to come here.'"

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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