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Colorado Northwestern Community College

Colorado Northwestern Community College
CNCC Rangely
Motto Set Yourself Apart
Established 1962
Type Public Two-Year Community College
President Russell George
Location Rangely and Craig (Plus Online & Virtual Campuses), Colorado, United States
Colors Red & White & Black
Nickname CNCC
Mascot Spartan
Affiliations NJCAA, IHSA, NIRA, Phi Theta Kappa
Website .edu.cnccwww

Colorado Northwestern Community College is a two-year community college located in Rangely, Colorado, in the United States.

Colorado Northwestern Community College has programs in Agriculture, Automotive and Diesel Technology, Aviation Flight Training, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Banking and Small Business, Cosmetology, Dental Hygiene, Early Childhood Education, Equine Training & Management, Marine Sciences, Massage Therapy, Mine Safety Training, National Park Ranger Training Academy, Nursing and A Guaranteed Degree Transfer Program in Arts & Sciences.

It is noted for the CNCC Flight School, which has been training pilots, both private and professional, for over 40 years. The Dental Hygiene program is state and nationally ranked. There are 46 approved faculty members along with numerous adjunct faculty.

The school participates in the National Junior College Athletics Association, or NJCAA. Current sports are men's and women's Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Volleyball, NIRA Rodeo and IHRA Horseshow Team.


  • History 1
  • Craig Campus 2
  • CNCC Vision Ropes Course 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In January 1957, a steering committee was formalized to focus on the need for higher education facilities in Northwestern Colorado. Participating counties included Jackson, Grand, Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco. Early on, the communities of Hayden, Steamboat Springs, Craig, and Rangely were the frontrunners to house a junior college in the area. Over the next two years, surveys were conducted by various entities. Dr. Leroy Goode, State Director of Community Colleges, entered the discussions to help facilitate the decision-making process. He brought in Dr. S.V. Mortorana of the U.S. Office of Education in WAshington to conduct a survey of the area's communities.[1]

By the end of 1958, the steering committee had approved a recommendation to develop a two-campus college, with a technical school in Rangely and an academic campus in the east end of the five-county district. Rangely was decided upon as the technical school site, because Rio Blanco County had an assessed valuation equal to that of the other four counties together, and surveys had shown that Rangely residents were likely to pass a bond issue.

Meanwhile in Grand Junction, Mesa College was looking to expand into Rio Blanco County and asked to meet with the junior college committee members from Rangely including the local Board of Education, Chamber of Commerce, and the Town Council. Mesa College officials expressed a great interest in a proposal to establish the Rangely College as a branch campus of Mesa College. Legally, that would mean redistricting, so the group decided to seek help from the Attorney General and State Department of Education.

By January 1959, the Rangely Board of Education voted in favor of a resolution asking district voters to bond the construction of a junior college in Rangely. Three Rio Blanco County members, along with the superintendents of schools from Rangely and Meeker, met with Rio Blanco County Commissioners to ask for funds from the Federal Royalty Fund that was established from mineral leasing rights in the area to help pay off the bond.

Since the plan to build the Rangely Campus as a branch campus to Mesa College seemed to be the most feasible option, the Rio Blanco County Committee, along with Mesa Committee continued to explore the annexation of the De Beque School District 49 and the western Rio Blanco County to form a new Mesa College District.

In April 1959, Rangely residents voted resoundingly to pass the bond issue for $2.8 million to pay for a Rangely College Campus by a vote of 298 to 9. According to one editorial, "The overwhelming approval startled those interested in forming a junior college in the five-county area of Northwestern Colorado." [2]

On May 4, 1959 voters in the Rangely School District, De Beque School District and the Mesa Junior College District electing to pass the unification proposal. Work then began on the planning process. Dr. Arnold Weiss, president of the Rangely School Board, was named to the board of directors for Mesa College. He and superintendent Bernard Yeager met with Dr. Good in Denver to start the screening of application from architectural firms. Land was then purchased from Kate Calvat on top of a hill overlooking the town of Rangely.

In May 1960, Mesa College named Dr. William A. Medesy as the first Dean of Rangely College. Construction officially began in January 1961. Within months, new staff members for the college were being hired, new faculty appointed and construction progressed with community support. In fact, every weekend community members would head into the hills to collect many of the rocks that now make up one of the distinguishing features of campus.

On September 20, 1962 classes started in Rangely for 83 students. A dedication ceremony attended by hundreds was held on Saturday, October 13 with U.S. Congressman Wayne N. Aspinall and Colorado Commissioner of Education, Dr. Byron A. Hansford serving as the VIP guests of the ceremony. In his address as reported in Grand Junction's Daily Sentinel, Dr. Hansford stated, "Rangely pioneered in oil, and now it is pioneering in education." Roe Saunders, president of the Mesa College Committee added, "It's the biggest contribution from the fewest people I've ever seen in my life." [3]

Craig Campus

Craig Campus at CNCC

In 1985, Colorado Northwestern Community College extended its services to Craig, Colorado. A community of approximately 10,000, Craig is located 42 miles west of Steamboat Spring and 90 miles north of Rifle.

Originally, CNCC Craig offered classes throughout the community in facilities that were available at the time. In 1989 the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College district Board of Control purchased the Bell Tower Building.[4]

In 2010, CNCC built a new campus in Craig. Located on 100 acres just north of the recently completed Memorial Hospital, CNCC-Craig Campus opened August 8, 2011. This 78,000 square foot building is LEED certified and is home to classrooms, laboratories, a virtual library, a Nursing program, Adult Learning ASsistance Center and a student lounge. Adjacent to the building is a career technical center where students can receive training in Cosmetology, Massage Therapy, Mine Safety, and Automotive/Diesel Technology.[5]

CNCC Vision Ropes Course

In April 2012, Colorado Northwestern Community College unveiled its vision initiative. Part of this initiative was to build a rope course that would challenge students and staff to reach for their dreams. As Rangely Dean of Instruction, Judy Allred explained, “A Ropes (or challenge) courses can be used for three basic purposes: recreational, educational, and therapeutic. CNCC will focus on using our ropes course for recreational and educational purposes. Participants are led through the elements with trained facilitators. The high course elements range from 30 to 40 feet off the ground and require participants to be harnessed for safety. Each time a group is taken on the course, there must be at least two trained facilitators running the activity.” [6]

Rope course at Colorado Northwestern Community College, Rangely Campus


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External links

  • Official site
  • CNCC takes root in the Rangely Community
  • The Herald Times Covering CNCC
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