Projects include reconfiguring North Campus now know as NJC’s Applied Technical Center
Northeastern Junior College’s new facility master plan is near completion. Lisa LeFevre, vice president of administrative services, gave an update on the plan at the college’s Advisory Council meeting on Thursday.
LeFevre shared the second to last draft of the plan, which will replace the current, nearly 20-year-old plan.
One of the highlights of the plan was a space utilization study, looking at the spaces the college has, how much are they being utilized and what is lacking space. The area that has the highest deficit of space is the cohort programs (wind technology, automotive technology, diesel technology, nursing and cosmetology), where students spend most of their day in one area, instead of going class to class. This area is 20,000 square-feet short on space.
Other areas that have a deficit include service space for offices, which is short 1,900 square-feet; physical education and recreation, which is about 4,500 square-feet short, and the physical plant, which is 12,620 square-feet short.
The plan also includes information about the most important capital improvement projects NJC should be looking at in the future, based on staff, student and community input. There are nine total projects, with the highest priority on expanding the facilities and reconfiguring the classroom spaces on North Campus, which will have its name changed to NJC’s Applied Technology Center.
“Really looking at making that into a state of the art technology campus,” LeFevre said.
To do that, a building will be built between Lebsack-Schmidt Hall and the Area Vocational Building that will conjoin those two buildings and open up that space. While this may sound expensive, LeFevre noted it is probably the least cost per square foot, because there are lots of program sponsors and donors they can rely on. NJC also has some seed money available to use from the $1 million in rural stabilization funds that was given to them by the Colorado Community College System this year.
“It will be a big industrial space that can be used for a lot of things as programs grow and transition over a period time,” she said.
Earlier in the meeting, Jimmy Atencio, diesel technology instructor, shared how his program is expanding, to the point where a second instructor is being hired on for next school year. He has also added a number of supporters, including most recently Waste Management. Other supporters who are providing students with a variety of opportunities include: Freightliner Truck Center, Case IH, Cummins, John Deere 21st Century, Love’s, JBS Trucking, SunState Equipment, Wickham Tractor CASE IH; Four Rivers John Deere, RTD, Titan Machinery, MHC Kenworth, Halliburton, RUSH Petebuilt, TA Truck Stops, and TransWest.
Atencio is working hard to ensure that students have access to what they need to have successful careers in the industry and to insure that businesses know that when they hire on an NJC student they are getting a quality employee who can do what they say they can do.
The second project in the master plan is to consolidate NJC’s maintenance facilities, demolishing the majority of the buildings, including the Quonset hut, and building one nice structure.
“We really have very, very aged facilities that our maintenance folks are in,” LeFevre said, adding that the offices and storage space for chemicals are not air conditioned in the summer.
One item that has been discussed for a number of years is an equine center by Logan County Fairgrounds. The master plan includes a plan for this that is based on plans that the agriculture department has been working on in light of spaces around the county being lost and the community needing some more space.
Additionally, the master plan includes a plan to give NJC a true entrance. All or part of Walker Hall will be demolished, the way the road comes through would be changed and a student center/administration building would be created, providing a true entrance from Highway 138.
Also, NJC does still lease the Longberg building at this time to house students. There have been a number of conversations on campus about whether that’s the right building to use, whether a new building should be built. The master plan does have a concept of building another residence hall on campus, so that the college isn’t losing money using someone else’s money.
In regards to athletics and recreation, the master plan includes a plan for a soccer field that NJC players can compete on; the current field is almost to the point where players can actually practice on it.
A vision for that area near North Campus is to have community athletic park there, where NJC baseball, softball and soccer games can be held, as well as youth games. LeFevre suggested they need to look at Astroturf field that will significantly reduce the cost of maintenance for those fields and improve the quality.
Plus, the plan includes details on expanding the Bank of Colorado Event Center to add another small gym for volleyball and wrestling.
Projects in the works right now include improvements to the Chuckwagon Café, the cosmetology building and Phillips-Whyman Hall.
At the end of the meeting, the council toured Williams Residence Hall, which is currently being remodeled. New paint, flooring and LED lighting is being added to the rooms, along with more electrical outlets. Conjoining desks were removed and a wall was put in to separate the rooms.
The bathrooms were last remodeled around 2010, so they are not being touched.
Since Christmas break, NJC crews are working on remodeling the third floor which has no students living on it right now, at a cost of $19,000 in materials per room, for 23 rooms, not including the air conditioning that will be added and new doors. That expense will go up, as the college has had to hire an outside crew to complete the second floor so the whole building will be ready by the time school starts in the fall.
There are plans for a similar process, moving students to two floors, while one floor is being worked on, in order to renovate Poole and Herboldsheimer Residence Halls.
Callie Jones: 970-526-9286, [email protected]