Room to grow |

Room to grow

CNCC vice president says campus needs more space to accommodate student population

Josh Nichols

Colorado Northwestern Community College needs more space, CNCC Vice President Dean Hollenbeck said Thursday.

Right now, the school operates with 13,000 square feet, well below the size it should be for the number of students it serves, he said.

“We’re 17,000 square feet short of what we need right now,” Hollenbeck said.

Hollenbeck made his comments during a presentation by representatives from Paulien & Associates, Inc., the firm hired to develop a master plan for a new campus in Craig.

John Bengston, vice president of the firm, said the college currently serves 129 full-time students.

He said projections show the school could serve 342 full-time students by 2007 with an influx of students expected with the new nursing program.

Which is why preliminary designs for a new campus call for a 70,000-square-foot campus, he said.

What should fit within those 70,000 square feet, which the consultants estimate would cost about $15 million, was discussed during the presentation.

A childcare center, parking lots, an auditorium and housing units were all ideas mentioned during the meeting.

Several questions cannot yet be answered as to what the campus will feature, Bengston said.

“Master planning is like a funnel and we’re still at the very top of that funnel,” he said.

One factor that could affect the decisions made regarding the new campus is whether the community decides to build a recreation center, which might be located on the CNCC campus.

“The campus has indicated that there could be a need for an auditorium but we don’t know what is going to happen with the recreation center yet,” he said.

If the decision were made to build a recreation center on the campus, that would affect the amount of parking needed, he said.

“Recreation centers and community colleges have a hard time sharing parking because they are both busy in the morning and evening,” he said.

He did commend the college on its decision to purchase the property for a new site.

“I think it was a wise decision to purchase property to allow for the growth of the college,” he said.

One asset he said the college did not have to budget space for was a library.

“Most community colleges use the public library,” he said. “That’s what it’s for.”

He said he also was skeptical about a childcare center on campus.

“It’s a hard thing for a community college to support a childcare center,” he said.

While they are still in the early stages of planning, Hollenbeck said he projected a 2005 ground breaking for the new campus.

“We need to get this master plan completed and then we’ll be off and running,” Hollenbeck said.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or

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