Moffat County College District Board considers options for fitness club
April 12, 2018
CRAIG — A five-year lease for a facility used by a popular gym is set to expire in December, and both building and business owners are considering their options for the future of the facility.
Trapper Fitness Center is owned by Dan and Ashleigh Seely and operated from a facility owned by the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board. As part of its due-diligence, the college district board is considering a new lease with the Seelys, selling the facility or providing financial support to allow Colorado Northwestern Community College to take over the gym.
For years, fitness instructors Jim and Barb Gregoire managed the gym for the college district board and were employed by CNCC to teach college-credit and non-credit physical education classes.
The gym classes proved popular, contributing 15 to 25 percent of the total enrollment of the college's community education program, according to CNCC Community Education Director Desiree Moore.
In 2011, the gym was privatized when the Gregoires became owners of the fitness business, leasing space and some equipment from the college district board. In 2013, the Gregoires sold their fitness business to the Seelys.
College classes were offered in 2013 and 2014, and Dan Seely said that, to the best of their knowledge, instructors, scheduling and enrollment have been an issue ever since.
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The college district board receives a modest rent and significant in-kind donation — an estimated $25,000 each year — in gym memberships from the Seelys. CNCC pays about $5,000 from student activity fees for student access.
“Everyone is looking at the low rent and not taking into consideration the value that we are providing to the college and the community,” said Dan Seely.
According to Director of Student Support Jennifer Holloway, college access for students and teachers is too limited, especially in light of the needs of the soccer program begun in 2016.
Holloway said CNCC had been trying to make it work for four years, that it wasn't successful and that she would recommend CNCC student services take over the gym.
"I don't feel good about student activities money going that way unless we have better access to the facility," she said.
The Seelys have spent about $7,500 on maintenance and upkeep in the past year, and they have installed access systems, as well as invested in equipment with an estimated value of $40,000.
"One option is that if CNCC wanted to take that over, we would work in the transfer and sale of those systems," Dan Seely said.
In addition, Moore and Holloway estimate the college district board would need to invest $10,000 to $15,000, in addition to the $5,000 paid by student services.
Moore and Holloway think the investment would be returned through the sale of memberships at a rate comparable to other Craig gyms and increased tuition and fees as additional students begin taking physical education classes.
"Anything you'd invest, we'd earn back," Holloway told board members.
A third option being considered is sale of the building at fair market value to the Seelys.
"We have concerns about some of the structural issues of the building, but we'd be open to that," Dan Seely said.
In February, the college district board approved spending $5,900 at an hourly rate of $225 from its consultant services budget to enter an agreement with Nash Johnson and Associates for appraisal of the Trapper property.
"We have not received an appraisal on the building," said board member Zach Allen during the March board meeting. "I think we should hold on any decision until we have the appraisal."
The board also asked for a complete business plan from Moore and Holloway.
“I believe the board and CNCC are working in partnership to ensure that we arrive at the best solution to serve the community and CNCC. I have no doubt we will be able to achieve an excellent outcome,” said Janell Oberlander, Colorado Northwestern Community College vice president.
Meanwhile, the gym is open for business as usual.
“We’ve tried to be good stewards of the building and offer good services to members, along with the benefits to the college and community, and we’d like to continue doing so,” said Dan Seely.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.