Enrollment increases; plans for on-campus student housing stall at Colorado Northwestern Community College | CraigDailyPress.com

Enrollment increases; plans for on-campus student housing stall at Colorado Northwestern Community College

CRAIG — Unofficial numbers show spring enrollment at Colorado Northwestern Community College up about 15 percent from the prior year.

“As of Jan. 15, we are up 21 percent in headcount and 15 percent in FTE (full time equivalents). Presently, we are the only school in the system where our spring enrollment has grown from last year,” said CNCC President Ron Granger.

He added the increase was across both campuses and could be attributed to “an increase in concurrent enrollment from last spring, a higher retention rate from the fall, and more new enrollees this spring. All of these have put us in a good position at this time.”

Granger expects the numbers to slip slightly when the official census of students is taken later this week, but he was optimistic about the outlook. He shared the news during his monthly report to the Moffat County Junior Affiliated College District Board, which met Monday, Jan. 21 in Craig.

The college president also told the board they should have a report in about two weeks with the projected costs to purchase and renovate the Valley Vista Inn to serve as student housing for the Craig campus. The proposal was brought to the board as an alternative when the Colorado Community College System — of which CNCC is a part — denied construction of a 50-bed housing development by third-party developers through a lease-to-own contract.

Contractors providing estimates to convert a hotel into student housing have been asked to include the conversion of the house, right, into a cafeteria.

“The state board, Ron Granger, and I expressed concerns about the cost of the proposal and the impact the proposal would have on the finances of CNCC. Specifically, the proposal would redirect approximately $325,000 of tax annual revenue away from CNCC programs in order of the district board to pay debt services on the dorm, despite assuming full occupancy of the dorm,” CCCS Chancellor Joe Garcia wrote in a letter he emailed to board President Mike Anson Jan. 17.

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Garcia wrote, “The focus should be on supporting academic and sports programs at CNCC.”

Vice President of Instruction Keith Peterson said he expects to present his plan for such programs before the board in February.

Granger and his executive team attended the meeting from Rangely via conference call.

“I’m not sure if you are aware, but last week, several CNCC staff were in an accident when attempting to travel from Craig,” Granger told board members as wind rattled the windows of the CNCC Craig campus board room, a result of the latest storm to blow through the region.

College District Board Treasurer Andy Daniels was unable to attend the meeting due to a family obligation.

Board member Zach Allen arrived late after wrapping up another meeting across town, but was in time to join Anson and board members Terry Carwile and Lois Wymore in voting unanimously to approve minutes from the September and December 2018 meetings, as well as a treasurer’s report.

Several members of the community attended the meeting. During public comments, former CNCC Director of Marketing Brian MacKenzie expressed his concerns about progress on a number of programs under development and urged the college board to request more accountability from Granger, including timelines.

Wymore also spoke up to mention that her son-in-law, former CNCC art instructor Israel Holloway, had sold items at the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale, part of the National Western Stock Show, in Denver through Jan. 27. Holloway’s work has recently been accepted into a number of prestigious shows.

Wymore said it was “a shame” CNCC could no longer share in the artist’s success.

Anson said the sale of the Trapper Building was moving forward. In turn, Granger and his team shared that the hiring processes for Craig-based vice president of student services and director of community education, among other positions, were moving forward.

The board will next meet Feb. 18.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.