CNCC celebrates 60 years of providing educational excellence grounded in the Colorado experience |

CNCC celebrates 60 years of providing educational excellence grounded in the Colorado experience

Colorado Northwest Community College
For Craig Press

This October is a big month for Colorado Northwestern. On Thursday, Oct. 13, CNCC will celebrate 60 years since it first opened its doors to 83 students as Rangely College.

At times like these, it’s good to pause, take stock of how far we have come, and adjust our bearings as we prepare for our journey forward.

From its inception, our communities have been an integral part of Colorado Northwestern Community College. An initial bond of $2.8 million was proposed to establish a college that would serve a five-county area in Northwestern Colorado. When the proposal was brought to Rangely, the citizens voted 298-9 in favor of the bond. Legislators and dignitaries acknowledged the overwhelming support as the biggest contribution from the fewest people that they had ever seen.

Community support continued as the Rangely campus was built. A call went out to members of the community to bring local rocks to the construction site for building facades and construction. That is what residents did. When it is said that Rangely residents help build the college, it is not only true financially, but also literally.

Over time it became apparent that the Rangely campus alone could not provide the access necessary to meet the needs of residents living in the 22,000-plus square miles served by the college, so in in 1985 CNCC extended its services to Craig.

The beautiful Craig campus opened its doors on Aug. 8, 2011, with a LEED certified, 78,000-square-foot building. That building on a hill just west of Craig is home to key CNCC programs like nursing, cybersecurity, agriculture-ranching, automotive, cosmetology and business.

Today, CNCC serves approximately 1,200 students on its campuses and online. This includes recent high school graduates, adult and college re-entry learners, and current high school students. The college provides unique career and technical education program, university transfer programs, and industry ready credentials for upskilling and reskilling aimed at filling community needs and providing opportunities for our residents.

All we have accomplished is helping to drive our future. CNCC will soon unveil and implement its 2023-28 strategic plan. Plan priorities will include academic program expansion to meet the needs of the workforce and residents pursuing high need, high pay jobs; attracting and retaining students who value our programs and embrace our identity which incorporates nature and the outdoors in student learning; and a continued commitment to community collaboration in identifying and solving local and regional issues together.

We thank our communities, neighbors, and friends for 60 great years and we look forward to continuing to serve you for many more.

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