Standing behind a barbecue grill for three hours had an effect on Gene Bilodeau, who got a face full of smoke while preparing cheeseburgers and hot dogs Wednesday night.
Although he wound up bleary-eyed by the end of the night, he still had his sights set on the future.
Specifically, in a location a few miles north.
Bilodeau, vice president of administration for Colorado Northwestern Community College, was among the faculty providing food for all takers at the school’s Community Appreciation Barbecue.
Bilodeau said about 250 people attended the annual event, now in its sixth year.
“There’s always a good turnout for this,” he said. “It’s just our way of giving back to people.”
The barbecue, free to all, featured a wide spread of food from burgers and hot dogs to chips and deserts.
Tim Stewart, a CNCC custodian, has attended the event regularly.
“It’s a real nice night for a barbecue,” he said. “I remember one year when it was so windy, if you didn’t hold onto your plate, it would blow away.”
Stevie Brumback kicked back at one of the tables with her father, Tom. Brumback is enrolled in the school’s massage therapy program.
“I’ve been in school here for three years,” she said. “I was originally going to get my associate’s, but then I switched to massage.”
Brumback said the barbecue offered her a chance to relax.
“It’s been a fun night,” she said.
Although he’s focused on this year’s activities, Bilodeau said he was already looking forward to the event next year, mainly because it will be in a different spot — the parking lot of the school’s new Craig campus, where construction is well underway.
The site, located along Moffat County Road 7, has been the center of activity since construction began in May.
Tom Purcell, of the Aurora firm Adolfson & Peterson Con-
struction, is the superintendent for the site, which is in the middle of erecting the planned academic building and career technical center.
“The most important thing about this project is understanding the geological conditions, and then building accordingly,” Purcell said.
Purcell explained the soil at the site is clay-based and could shift unexpectedly beneath the buildings, which is why the construction is structurally-based, so that any movement of the soil does not impact the buildings.
The buildings include a 14,000-square-feet career and technical center and a 70,000-square-feet academic building.
At this stage of construction, the academic building is split into two sections, A and B.
Purcell said section A’s frame work will be done by next week, and concrete slabs that constitute the first floor will be completed by mid-September. Then, the company will be able to focus more on section B, which leads to the building’s planned utility enclosure.
“We’re on schedule in some areas and ahead in others,” he said.
Framing is being completed on the career and technical center, as well. The building will have classrooms and work areas for cosmetology and massage therapy students, as well as those training for careers in mining and industrial electrics.
Brumback, who works filing paperwork in the site’s office trailer, said she is excited for the new campus.
“It’ll give us a lot of new opportunities,” she said. “We’ll have about 10 times what we already have.”
Purcell said the long-term goal is to finish construction by July 2011.
The current goal for his team is to have the buildings sealed off before winter so they can focus on interior work, which will raise the number of workers onsite from 70 to “a peak of 150.”
“We’ll be bringing in a lot of subcontractors for the interior work,” he said.
The crew ran into a problem two weeks ago, when they found an unexpected oil and gas well.
Purcell said the well, found to have been closed off in 1992, could have been hazardous even though the cap on it was in good shape, but they waited for a confirmation from Northwest Colorado Consultants, a geotechnical and environmental engineering firm, that there were no emissions.
Purcell said his crew will build a barrier around the well, which is next to the academic building, and surround it with proper ventilation.
He added that safety is Adolfson & Peterson’s “number one priority,” and they recently surpassed a record 4 million man-hours without an on-the-job accident.
“There’s no such thing as an efficient, productive site that’s not safe,” he said.
Purcell is certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Bilodeau said the academic building also has LEED certification, partly because of the construction crew’s efficiency in recycling materials, about 75 percent of the wood, concrete, steel and cardboard they use.
“Every time I come up here, it’s just amazing,” Bilodeau said. “There’s so much work that goes into it.”