CNCC seeks grant for career, technical building

In other action

At its Monday meeting, the Colorado Northwestern Community College Board:

• Heard a report from John Boyd, CNCC president, about plans for residence hall construction at the new Craig campus. Boyd has been in discussions with Chevron Energy Solutions about the facility, which includes possibilities for a ground-source power plant at the new Craig campus.

• Heard a report from Gene Bilodeau, Craig campus dean, who said the college has paid one-third of its bill with Anson Excavating & Pipe for installing infrastructure at the new campus site. Bilodeau also reported the sewer system work on the site is completed.

• Heard a report from Bilodeau that an online program for the college's power plant technology course is on track and the college will soon begin promoting the program at area schools. Bilodeau also reported college officials have met with The Memorial Hospital to discuss a program that would teach students how to record medical information from verbal into numeric or alphanumeric forms. He added that Hayden High School has asked CNCC for a letter of support for its Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center in Hayden.

— The wait is on for Colorado Northwestern Community College.

In the most recent grant cycle, the college applied for a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Local Affairs. That sum, if granted, will pay for about half of the costs of building a career and technical building at the new Craig campus.

Now, college officials have to wait for DOLA to make a final decision on which state applicants will receive a portion of the funds it has to distribute.

Gene Bilodeau, CNCC Craig campus dean, attended a DOLA hearing last week regarding the college's grant application.

John Boyd, CNCC president, said the college should expect to hear in coming weeks.

CNCC also is prepared to offer a matching sum for the grant. Together, the match and grant should cover the entire cost of putting up a new career and technical center, Boyd said.

The building is estimated to cost about $3.7 million to put up, including construction and infrastructure costs.

It's often difficult to judge if DOLA looks favorably upon a grant request or not, Boyd added, until officials have reviewed all grant requests.

And DOLA could decide to offer up all, some, or none of the college's grant request.

"You never know," Boyd said.

If the grant is awarded, its funds would be available spring 2009 and would be paid out in stages as the college pays construction costs. The building is scheduled to undergo construction next fall and could open in January 2010.

However, if DOLA decides not to award the grant to CNCC, the college will have to rely on funds collected through an ongoing fundraiser to pay for part of the career and technical building's construction.

On Oct. 1, the fundraiser entered its second stage, in which college officials request donations from companies that could benefit from the college's course offerings, including members of the local energy industry.

Boyd said he is confident that the fundraiser can cover all construction costs should of the requested grant not come through.

Funds still frozen

Because of the current economic crisis, $1.9 million allotted to CNCC from the state Joint Budget Committee still is frozen.

And, at Monday's CNCC board meeting, Boyd said it's uncertain whether the college will ever see that money.

The funds are earmarked for construction of an academic building at a new Craig campus. Still, even if the money doesn't become available, a new academic building still is on the college's list of upcoming projects.

Whether the facility will be built as originally planned, however, depends on whether joint budget dollars thaw.

"So we're moving on with our plans," Boyd said Tuesday. "If we have to, we just reduce the scope of the project by that amount."

Bilodeau said previously that some rooms in the academic building could be left unfinished until funds are available later to complete them.

Still, the majority of CNCC's state construction funds have come through.

Last month, CNCC officials learned that $21.3 million in federal mineral lease dollars would be coming to the college as planned. The funds were part of a state program to help fund higher education construction.

Earlier in October, Boyd estimated the funds may not have been available until January because of the recent credit crunch.

CNCC's $21.3 million will fund the design of an academic building which is scheduled to open at the new Craig campus in 2011.

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