When John Boyd came to interview for the position of president for the Craig campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College, he was told to look out the windows north of the current campus to see the future.
At that time more than two years ago there was little more than a sign that read, "Future Site of Colorado Northwestern College" on the land. Boyd told his future employer that one of his top priorities as president would be to make that dream become a reality.
On Wednesday Boyd announced CNCC was running full-speed ahead toward a new campus.
"We are ready for something to happen beyond just putting a fresh coat of paint to the sign," he said.
The CNCC president used a press conference to discuss construction plans and to kick off its private fundraising stage for the new campus and improvements at other CNCC campuses.
"This is a traditional way for higher education to raise funds," he said, "but unique for Northwest Colorado."
The combined projects have a price tag of $40.6 million. The public sector will fund $32.3 million, which leaves $8.3 million for college to raise from the private sector.
Boyd said that an internal campaign from CNCC faculty, board members and grant funding had raised 64 percent of the private funding needed.
"We had some grants come in and we had a donor from Rangely give $1 million," he said after the press conference.
During the conference he said that the CNCC faculty had given $50,000 with 99 percent participation.
"I'm confident we'll be able to get the rest" of the private funding. Boyd said. "The community wants to see something done."
Included in the private fundraising are building naming opportunities, as well as a 25 percent Colorado tax credit for donations of $1,000 or more.
The projected fundraising needed is divided into: $3 million for Craig for the campus build-out, $3 million for Rangely in construction and renovation needs, $2 million in program expansion for Rangely and Craig, and $300,00 for the satellite campuses in Hayden, Meeker and South Routt County.
Boyd and CNCC Craig Campus Dean Gene Bilodeau said they expect that when classes on the new campus start in 2011, it could increase enrollment by 30 to 40 percent.
There are currently 120 full-time students enrolled this fall, and more than 600 students will take classes on campus this year.
"It could push us up above 1,000 students," Boyd said.
More visible progress
The press conference came on the same day that bids were being accepted for dirt work on the new campus.
"Dirt work will start probably in the next two weeks or so," Boyd said. "They will try to get as much done before winter."
When asked about worries that a freeze on additional funding for state projects from Gov. Bill Ritter, Boyd said, "the bulk of our state money is set regardless of Ritter's freeze."
The construction plans are on schedule to have a 32-bed dormitory available by the fall of 2009. The Career and Technical Center, an academic building and an automotive tech center are planned to be completed in 2011.
"We're going as fast as possible to get as much completed as we can," Boyd said. "What's nice now is that we are saying 'when' instead of 'if.'"