Community members, elected officials help CNCC commemorate new Craig campus |

Community members, elected officials help CNCC commemorate new Craig campus

New CNCC Craig campus at a glance:

• The academic building, which encompasses 70,000 square feet, will be used for the school’s nursing program and general education.

• The career technical center is 14,000 square feet and will be used for cosmetology, massage therapy, auto technical, CPR, EMS and other programs.

• The auto technical program will also have its own 4,000-square-foot building when construction is completed in December.

• The total cost of the academic building, career technical center, and auto tech building is $28.6 million.

• Other plans for the Craig campus include a new residence hall, which could possibly be built for the fall 2012 semester.


“CNCC is here to serve the community, and as long it’s here to do that it’ll be successful.”

— John Boyd, former Colorado Northwestern Community College president, at Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school’s new Craig campus

A community college can't thrive without a supportive community around it.

"It's truly the thing that makes us go," said Gene Bilodeau, vice president of administration at Colorado Northwestern Community College, a school with campuses in Craig and Rangely.

Evidence of a supportive community, as well as appreciation for that support, surrounded Monday afternoon's ribbon-cutting ceremony at CNCC's new Craig campus, 2801 W. Ninth St. The campus includes a new academic building and career technical center, with additional plans calling for an auto tech program building and a residence hall.

About 300 people attended the opening event, with more coming throughout the day for guided tours of the academic building and technical center.

"Remember this day in history," CNCC President Russell George said. "CNCC and Craig have come together and we have come alive to celebrate the same thing. Education isn't all about a building, it's about a heart and soul, but it also needs a place to happen."

George said he is immensely proud of the school's new buildings.

"It's one thing to see it from the outside, but it's another thing to go in," he said.

Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System, joined George and Bilodeau at Monday's ceremony.

"There's a $28.6 million investment in this building, and it can now serve up to 5,000 students," she said. "I feel overjoyed, it's just beyond my wildest dreams."

McCallin first became involved with CNCC in 1997, before the school's involvement with the CCCS. She has been waiting to see the new campus project come to fruition since about 2004, though that's not nearly as long as others.

When Bilodeau joined the school's faculty in 1994, he was ready to see new school construction.

The academic building will house classes for nursing and general education, while massage therapy, cosmetology, auto technical, CPR and EMS programs, among others, will take place in the career technical center.

"One of the things that the community will see after today is that the building will generate more interest for people to come up here and see that we're a legitimate college campus," he said.

One of Monday's speakers, former college president John Boyd, joked that the main reason the campus got built was to appease Bilodeau after 17 years.

"It started out a long time ago, but it kind of got stalled," he said. Boyd commended the support by community organizations and agencies, such as The Memorial Hospital in Craig, and individuals who put in numerous hours during the planning process to help along the project's funding, as well as local taxpayers.

"CNCC is here to serve the community, and as long as it's here to do that, it'll be successful," Boyd said.

Also speaking Monday were Craig Mayor Terry Carwile, Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner, State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and State Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden.

White said the experience was a personal one for her because of her husband and political predecessor Al's involvement with CNCC's funding process.

"They're absolutely beautiful facilities, the crown jewel that will enrich the community," she said.

White added that she wants to be the first person in line to get a facial at the new cosmetology classroom in the career technical center.

Spectators were impressed with the academic building and technical center.

CNCC faculty members and students were on hand Monday to give additional information on the tours.

Nursing student and tour guide Becky Meek said the enthusiasm from community members made the new campus all the better.

"It's great showing them what we'll be able to provide," she said. "They're really interested in the cosmetology and massage classes in the career technical center because those are the classes that are in the community more. We're all excited to start in the new building and see what it has to offer us."

The first day of classes is scheduled for Aug. 22.

Nursing program director Kelly Martin-Puleo said the idea of starting in a new location for a new semester is exciting because of the opportunity to have all her students in one place, especially so close to a learning aide like TMH.

"More than anything else it's that feeling of having a school and having everybody interacting," she said.

Martin-Puleo said she's also excited about the prospect of what the new campus could mean to the Craig and Moffat County community.

While speaking at the ceremony, she quoted futurist Joel Barker: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world."

"What we see before us is essentially bricks and mortar," Martin-Puleo said of the new buildings. "But, I see the promise of the future."

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