RANGELY I College officials, local dignitaries and the Rector family were on hand Thursday for the dedication of the refurbished and enlarged Rector Science Building on the campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely.
Roughly 220 people gathered on campus to mark the end of the three-year, roughly $4 million project and to dedicate the building, which was one of the nine original buildings on campus that were built in 1962. The Rector Building was also the last of the original buildings to be renovated.
“There had been some lab work done in 1980,” CNCC President Russell George said of the building. “But other than that, it hadn’t been worked on.
“Now the building is working well, is filled with absolute state-of-the-art equipment, it is most attractive and it is much more useful,” he said.
Before the current renovation, the building was 7,460 square feet, with the new structure being expanded to 11,718 square feet.
The new building currently contains 2,833 square feet in the new lecture hall, which was divided into to two 1,423 square-foot sides; there are 1,109 square feet of regular classroom space (Rector 106); 2,260 square feet in laboratory space for chemistry, biology and dissection; and 985 square feet in new office and office lounge space for four offices and a student waiting area.
George said that when he first arrived at CNCC it was obvious to him that the Rector Building needed some help.
“It had been in the plans to update the building for about two decades, but it just never got done,” he said.
George said that when he approached the college board of trustees, they agreed that the work was needed and that the time to begin looking at it was right away.
It was decided than that not only would the Rector Building be updated but that more space would be added.
“The board knew that the project would severely drain the reserves, but they committed to go ahead with the project,” George said. “They also believed that the building work should include a campus and community lecture hall because there was no place in Rangely big enough for such use. The campus and the community will use it, and it will be a busy place, I am sure.”
The original architectural work for the project began in 2008 but was redesigned in spring 2012 to better suit community and college needs by upgrading the technology and adding the large lecture space.
In the fall of 2011, deans Dr. Todd Ward and Judy Allred collaborated with facilities director John Bottelberghe and other board and college officials as well as the teachers who were using the Rector Building to decide just how the building renovation would proceed and to get everyone’s opinion as to what the building needed.
“We all got together with the architect and hired Asset Engineering out of Grand Junction as the contractor,” George said. “This was a bit of a design-and-build project with input from everyone involved, and we found out that the idea of updating as we went led to few change orders, which was more efficient and cheaper. That worked well.”
The group also had to put together a strategic plan for the fall shutdown of the only science building, which just happened to be also busiest building on campus.
To do this, the facilities department put together a multi-year plan that required CNCC to renovate the entire Cramer Building, in-house, to be retrofitted with a temporary sciences lab, a lecture classroom, offices and storage.
A second building, the W.C. Striegel Building, had laboratory tables permanently added to help alleviate the scheduling issues. Once the scheduling issue was addressed, the college could shut down and the project of renovating the Rector Building could begin.
When presented three years ago, the full plan, which included professional services, architectural fees, hard construction and furniture for all three affected buildings, was projected to cost around $4 million.
The entire project came in slightly under the projected budget cost.
Actual expenditures came in at $3,985,808, broken down to: $3,423,431 for the hard costs of construction; $368,640 for soft costs (inspections, architect, etc.); $100,114 for furniture, fixtures and equipment; $93,623 for asbestos investigation and abatement.
Funding for the project came from a variety of sources, but the primary donating group was the Rio Blanco County Junior College District at $3 million, George said.
“We absolutely couldn’t have done it without the district board, and we still have to pay some funds back to the board,” he said. “But the board is the entity that made it happen, and we also received some good funding from the Shell Oil Foundation, the Boettcher Foundation the El Pomar Foundation as well as local donations.
“It all ends up as we now have a building that the board, the college and the community can be proud of,” he said. “We will all gain from that new building, but most of all, it will be the students who will gain the most, and that is what we had hoped all along.”