Proposed student housing in Craig could cost up to $12 million | CraigDailyPress.com

Proposed student housing in Craig could cost up to $12 million

Kent Craven, of Design West Architects, presents the conceptual design for student housing at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig on Wednesday. The total estimated cost for the project would be between $10 to $12 million dollars, however it could be built in two stages. Next steps include refining the design and exploring options for financing.

— The conceptual design for student housing on the Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus was unveiled at a public meeting Wednesday.

A four-story, 100-bed building would house students and a connected building would provide a kitchen, offices and a great room.

The architect firm, Design West Architects, estimates the entire project would cost between $10 million to $12.5 million or $300 a square foot to build and furnish.

The design would allow the college to build in two stages.

"I have been involved in other projects, I think it looks pretty good. It gives us the opportunity to build what we have the money to build," said CNCC President Ron Granger.

One of the next steps is exploring ways to finance construction and on going costs.

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"It's one thing to pay for the construction, but on going costs over the years must also be considered," Granger said.

Student Housing Committee Chair and College Board Member Lois Wymore believes there is a clear need for student housing.

Since the fall of 2013, CNCC's Craig campus has assisted students with housing by leasing apartments that are subleased to students. The program has gone from eight students to 29 in the past three years and even more have applied, Wymore said.

"There were students that would not have come here had we not provided them with housing," Wymore said. "We need at least 60 beds if soccer fills, so we already have a clear need. And it will be awesome for retainment and recruitment."

Student needs are the top priority, however the college is also keeping community needs in mind.

"First we must consider how is it going to serve our educational needs, including student housing, and two, how is it going to serve our community. These are the two biggest things that we have to look at," Granger said.

Community members who attended Wednesday's meeting were excited about the possible benefits to students and to the community.

"I think it's fantastic. It's all about the students and education. But it would also be great for our community and our economy," said Moffat County Commissioner Frank Moe.

The college was asked if it could expand the great room to accommodate conference seating for 400 people.

"There's a perceived need for a 400 seat conference space," said Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Michelle Balleck. "I think that the college being open to a collaboration with the community is a sign that everyone wants to work to do what's best for the community, and I am encouraged by that."

The architects will use feedback from Wednesday's meeting and additional focus groups to refine the design and then deliver more accurate information about both building and on going costs of the facility.

"I can't start fundraising until I have something to present," Granger said.

The student housing committee expects to have a draft project timeline and to receive a feasibility study from Yampa Valley Data Partners early in the New Year.

"We need to do this. It's time to step-up, have faith and move forward for our students and our community," Wymore said."2018 makes sense to me, the sooner the better. This community is awesome. When we put out minds to something we get it done."

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