Property donation, Trapper Fitness, proposed policies generate lively discussion during Moffat County College District Board
CRAIG — Extra chairs were rolled into the boardroom at the Colorado Northwestern Community College Monday, as citizens, business owners and staff from Memorial Regional Health packed the room for the March meeting of the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board.
Highlights of the meeting included robust discussions about board policy, proposals for Trapper Fitness Club and recent decisions to donate land and dirt to the hospital. Many decisions were postponed, as the board awaits additional information and legal advice.
Expressing frustration with the slow pace of growth at CNCC, board treasurer Andy Daniels presented a vision statement for board consideration.
“I’m going to paint you a vision tonight,” Daniels said, before reading the draft statement.
“Within five years, Moffat County Junior College (CNCC Craig) will be known as the premier Colorado location for students seeking formal knowledge and training in allied health, technical and trades and art. We will deliver quality online programs from CNCC Craig that generates revenue to support CNCC Craig. We will have a vibrant campus with on-site student housing and athletics. We will be known in the community as a driver and partner for economic growth and stability.”
Nine goals to support the vision were also introduced.
Proposed MCAJCD board vision and goals
“I think this is where we need to spend our money,” Daniels said.
The board is taking time to consider the vision and goals before taking action.
Two draft policies were also introduced by Daniels and resulted in a robust discussion between board members and CNCC President Ron Granger.
“I don’t work for this board,” Granger said.
Since becoming part of the Colorado Community College System, the local board authority is narrowly defined to decisions about tax dollars raised by a 3-mill levy on Moffat County property owners. The oversight of CNCC’s president and staff are the responsibility of the CCCS president and governing boards.
“The board is within rights for creating expectations to help us make decisions to spend those funds,” Daniels said.
The MCAJCD Board is awaiting legal advice before moving forward with proposed by-laws introduced last month and the two governance policies introduced Monday.
“I think that there is some real value in this if we work together,” said board Chair Mike Anson, who described “getting an earful from constituents concerned with the direction of the college.
Proposed MCAJCD board policies
Before the discussion on policy and vision, the meeting began with an executive session about the purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer, or sale of any real, personal or other property interest and to receive legal advice.
Afterward, the board voted to change the agenda to postpone discussion of the donation of land to Memorial Regional Health pending additional legal advice.
The request from Memorial Regional Hospital for removal and use of dirt from lot two was struck from the agenda.
“We don’t need to reopen. It was approved at our last meeting,” said board member Terry Carwile.
The board accepted public comments from Craig citizens Pete Pleasant and Pam Foster. Both spoke against the donation of college land to the hospital.
“I would ask the board to rescind the motion on dirt removal and land donation,” Foster said.
She questioned the legal authority of the board of a taxing entity to donate assets and spoke of how the original college site plan was intended for perpetual development.
“If you give any more land away, what will happen in 60 years, when this college needs more land? Your first responsibility should be to serve this board and this college into the future,” she said.
MRH Board of Trustees Chair Todd Jourgansen and MRH Vice President of Operations Jennifer Riley both provided additional information about the requests.
“Hospital expansion will help everyone down the road,” Jourgansen said.
He listed additional educational opportunities as one of the expected advantages for the college.
“We are trying to maximize value to the taxpayers. We are not just a hospital any longer,” Riley said.
The college district board postponed decisions to repair the floor of a racquetball court at Trapper Fitness Club until they it receives an appraisal — approved in February — for the facility.
The building is currently leased to Dan and Ashliegh Seely. The board listened to a proposal for CNCC to assume management of the gym.
Jennifer Holloway, CNCC Craig director of student support, and Desiree Moore, CNCC director of community education, said the move would provide better access for CNCC students, as well as enhance the ability to offer physical education through both community education programs and for credit, something that hasn’t been possible since 2011.
The board requested additional financial information from Holloway and Moore. There might be a third option.
“If the building were offered to you at fair market value, would you be interested in purchase?” Daniels asked the Seelys.
They said they would consider it.
The board unanimously approved the minutes of the Feb. 26 regular meeting.
For the second month in a row, after “drawing a line in the sand” at the last board meeting, the board declined to approve the January and February treasurer’s reports after a motion made by Carwile was not seconded.
CNCC Craig Vice President Janel Oberlander and Granger, City Council member Derek Duran and College Foundation Board member Terry Carwile all provided reports.
CNCC staff also provided a brief update about student housing, the CNCC website and CNCC strategic plan.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
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