Moffat County college district board sends housing proposal to state for approval
CRAIG — After a vote of three in favor and two opposed, the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District board has sent to the Colorado Community College System a proposal for the development, by a third party, of on-campus student housing with a cafeteria.
Board members reviewed the final proposal at their meeting Monday, Oct. 15, to include adjustments to an initial proposal brought forward by Ohio developer Springfield Properties Group, in association MKC Architects — which is involved in construction of the Memorial Regional Health Rapid Care Clinic — and owner of Adena Corporation Randy Payne — construction manager for the MRH Medical Office Building project, as reported by the Craig Press in August.
The financial model — used to determine expenses and revenues needed to pay developers — proposes two buildings, one with 50 beds (48 rental and two for required on-campus staff) and a second 200-seat capacity cafeteria.
The model accounts for both estimated costs to constuct and maintain the building and conservatively assumes only 60-percent occupancy and flat revenues from the existing mill levy managed by the college district board.
The 50 beds included in the proposal should allow the college to shift current student housing from a local hotel to the on-campus facility and provide space to recruit additional students desiring on-campus housing. It does not break even.
“You would need more than 50 beds to break even,” said board Treasurer Andy Daniels. “There is not enough economy of scale. You would have to go up.”
The CCCS must approve any development. If approved by the state, based on the latest financial modeling, the proposal will require the board of control to:
• Fund the project by paying between $183,000 to $326,000. The amount varies depending on actual expenses and revenues through a 30-year lease-to-own agreement term with the developers.
• Return to 50-percent tuition buy-down once the dorms are built to free-up enough funding to cover the cost, unless the development generates more revenue than originally estimated.
• Decrease support of CNCC programs over a two- to three-year period and receive a further commitment from CNCC to no longer depend on subsidized programmatic support from the board.
• Secure a commitment from CNCC to offer and build programs, such as men’s and women’s soccer, for growth that utilizes housing.
Following discussion, Daniels made the motion for the board to, “accept the modified housing proposal financial pro-forma, including assumptions, proceed with the approval process and construction of a 50-bed unit dormitory with cafeteria.”
Board member Terry Carwile seconded the motion, and board member Lois Wymore joined the two men in voting “yes.”
Board President Mike Anson, before casting his “no” vote, said, “I’m all for housing, but I am a little concerned where the college is going right now and if it can continue to grow. I’m a little concerned about putting out taxpayers in this type of issue.”
Joining Anson in voting “no,” was board member Zack Allen. During the discussion, Allen said he believed a request for proposal process would be a “good” process to follow, instead of a contract with a third-party developer.
The decision was made after more than a decade of conversation, testing with off-campus solutions, designs submitted by several architects through multiple RFPs, and a failed mill levy asking voters to support development through a property tax increase.
The board now awaits a decision from CCCS.
In other college district board business:
• Board members held an executive session pursuant to §24-6-402(4)(a), C.R.S. to discuss the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal, or other property interest that resulted in a decision. When the open meeting resumed, Daniels made a motion, seconded by Carwile, for the board to approve the sale of the Trapper Building but agree to pay the cost of title insurance for the buyer.
• No motion was made and no vote was taken regarding a request by Memorial Regional Health for support of the conveyance of real property from the board to the hospital for development of assisted living facilities. “This is something we are pursuing with our attorney,” Anson said. “We are going to keep pursuing it. It’s not a dead issue, yet.”
• During public comments, former CNCC Marketing Director Brian McKenzie, who resigned in September, expressed his thanks to the board, staff, and students, saying, “If I had one suggestion, (CNCC President) Ron (Granger) has some great ideas and is working on a lot of programs. Get a realistic timeline for the community, and hold him to it.”
• During reports by CNCC staff, board members thanked Interim Vice President of Student Support for the Craig Campus Ron Slinger for his assistance. Slinger’s role ended on Tuesday, allowing him to return to work at Red Rocks Community College and his family.
• New vice presidents of finance and instruction will both start Nov. 12. The search for a new vice president for the Craig Campus continues. Granger noted that deans would be working to cover the gaps.
• Unanimously voted to approve minutes from the Aug. 10 meeting and the treasurer’s report.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
The deadline to return petitions has been extended to 4 p.m. Aug. 29 for those running for the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board.