CNCC welcomes new leadership at board meeting Monday | CraigDailyPress.com

CNCC welcomes new leadership at board meeting Monday

President Ronald Granger says college is not in 'a dire situation' with finances

CNCC's new President Ronald Granger, left, sits in on his first board meeting Monday night.

— Excitement was the word of the day at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig as the college welcomed back teaching faculty and officially greeted the new President Ronald Granger.

"We are so excited about being involved in both communities and campuses. We researched and talked with people who'd grown-up here. There are so many opportunities between the campuses and the services that we can offer to students," Granger said.

When he says "we" Granger refers to his wife Alisa, a photographer and "outdoors woman" and their 7-year-old granddaughter who has moved to Rangely with the couple. The Grangers have a total of 7 children and 12 grandchildren.

"I say 'we' because we make all our decisions together," he said.

The family arrived in Northwest Colorado from Riverton, Wyoming where Granger was vice president of administrative services. He and his family moved west after surviving a tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri in 2011. He spent over 30 years in education beginning his career as a high school educator and coach before moving into higher education working in community college systems for the last 14 years.

Granger steps into the role just as the Colorado Community College System, the state body governing CNCC, instituted a hiring freeze to allow the new president time to reassess the needs of the college and to examine the budget to better understand why half a million in cash reserves was needed to balance last year's budget.

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"I've had nine years work as the vice president of administrative services, finance was a big part, and ensuring revenues match forecasts. I also had experience working outside of schools in construction," Granger said. "Colleges are not like any other industry as you forecast revenues, but then costs are paid up-front before revenues come in. The challenge is ensuring forecasts are accurate so that revenues do not exceed expenditures."

Recent hiring in the CNCC business office has made forecasting particularly challenging as new staff had to be trained to use the software accounting system, Granger said.

"I've used the software before, and I'll be able to do my own checking," he said. "We are not in a dire situation. We are not broke. We've had some good years and we've had some not so good years. People are going to see a transformation for the good."

When asked about the new president the college's board Chairman Mike Anson said, "I am excited. We've been taking smaller steps, this is big and it feels like things are really coming together."

The big changes include the new college men's and women's soccer teams. The teams were on hand Monday night with signed jerseys and soccer balls to both welcome the new president to the Craig campus and thank the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control for approving their creation.

Another project that's coming together is the trying to develop student housing on the Craig campus. Board members approved spending $9,250 for Design West Architects to move forward with work to create conceptual drawings of the development. The work will include focus groups with students, staff and the board and will likely begin in mid-September or early October, according to Vice President of the Craig Campus Janell Oberlander.

The board was also excited when Oberlander reported that CNCC fall enrollment continues to climb from the 20 percent increase reported last week to over 25 percent increase this week, bringing more than 100 students to campus than last year.

"These numbers are still preliminary as they will fluctuate as students enroll, add and drop classes," Oberlander said. "We are proud of the hard work by staff this summer to encourage new enrollment and by faculty to retain existing students. We are excited for the start of the fall semester on Monday."

CNCC invites the community to a community barbecue hosted by the board at noon on Saturday.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.