Tax dollars could support new program at CNCC

Officials at Craig campus preparing space for nine-month automotive technology program to start in August

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To enroll

To enroll in Colorado Northwestern Community College's automotive technical program, call 824-1110.

— Colorado Northwestern Community College officials are putting the finishing touches on a new program coming to the Craig campus this fall.

To start, the college plans to make space for its new automotive technology program in a facility located near the intersection of Mack Lane and Industrial Avenue that already houses the college's Industrial Electrician courses.

The nine-month automotive technology program, which is designed to certify students on basic and advanced levels, is scheduled to start in August.

The program comes with a price.

Making renovations for the program and funding it for the first year will cost about $180,000.

At the Craig campus' Board of Control meeting Monday night, college president John Boyd and Craig Campus Dean Gene Bilodeau informed members that the program would need a three-year funding commitment from the board.

"We do that on a regular basis," Boyd said, adding that the first year of a new academic program usually is the most expensive.

The Board of Control oversees the college's use of tax-generated funds. Traditionally, Board-controlled funds fully support a new program for the first year, Boyd said.

Funding from board-controlled funds drops by one-third in following years until the new program is fully self-funded by its fourth year.

Boyd estimated the first year of the automotive technology program would cost about $90,000 to $100,000. Renovating the Industrial Electrician center to make room for the courses could cost another $80,000, he said.

A fund designated for new program startup costs would pay for the program's first year, as well as costs of renovating the building where the program would be located.

Still, automotive technology isn't the only program needing Board-controlled funds this year.

About $60,000 of the fund's budgeted $180,000 total has been spent to pay for other new programs at the college, including the Power Plant Technology and Industrial Electrician classes.

Board Treasurer Karol Bullen voiced concerns about pulling funds away from other new programs.

"I don't want to pull money out of programs starting right now" to fund a new set of classes, she said.

Boyd said that step would not be necessary.

In coming weeks, college officials will create a proposal suggesting the remaining $120,000 left in the new program fund be designated to the automotive technology program.

Funds designated for new programs in the Board's upcoming budget will supplement that figure, Bilodeau said.

"The money will be there," he said.

College officials will begin forming the new budget next month, he said, and the new budget will go into effect July 1.

The college must meet another requirement before it can begin offering the program this fall.

Although the college can accept admission from students who apply to the program, the state must approve the course before students can register for the program.

Still, the program's debut this year is a certain event, Boyd said.

"It's going to be a good program," he said. "It's going to be a big program in this area."

To enroll in the automotive technology program or for more information, call 824-1110.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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