Colorado Northwestern Community College back in South Routt

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The South Routt campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College has been mostly dormant since 2003, when the campus's coordinator retired.

On Monday, the program will welcome its first students in four years, thanks in part to the efforts of former Soroco Middle School math teacher Julie Hoff, who has taken the reins as coordinator of the college's South Routt center.

"This past fall, they hired me to bring the campus back to life," said Hoff, who noted that EMT courses and dual enrollment classes with the high school have been continuously offered in South Routt despite the presence of a local college representative.

"In my dream, I would like people to come to South Routt because they can get associates degrees out there," Hoff said.

The renewed South Routt campus doesn't offer enough classes for students to earn a full associates degree.

"At the same time, we want to offer things that the community at large wants, like fun stuff," she said.

In addition to academic classes, such as English composition, nutrition and math, the campus also will offer community education classes such as arts and crafts, exercise and health courses. In all, 25 classes will be offered through the center, all taught by those in the South Routt community.

"There are a lot of professionals in South Routt, and we try to use them as much as possible," she said. "The community (education) courses are just taught by community members who have been doing it forever and are skilled in that area."

Because the center does not have a defined campus, classes will be offered throughout the South Routt area. Tuition for community education classes range from $50 to $100, while academic courses are offered at $77 a credit hour.

Soroco Middle and High School Principal Dr. James Chamberlin welcomes the campus's dual mission in addressing academic and community interests.

"It's really encouraging that they are trying to improve CNCC offerings in the South Routt area because we have had those offerings in the past," said Chamberlin, who added that South Routt School District officials recently met with CNCC deans and department heads.

"This is the first meeting we as administrators and teachers have had with them all together in my 10 years here," he said. "It shows that they definitely recognize the need for these offerings, and I commend the college for their efforts."

Hoff said CNCC officials have provided everything she has asked for in reviving the South Routt campus.

"They could have let it fall to the wayside," she said. "If I come in and say I need whatever I need to make the campus go, they are willing to do that. They are excited to have that option back."

All Hoff needs now are students.

Hoff said prospective students can visit her at her office above the Oak Creek Public Library, or call her at 736-2323 for more information or register for classes.

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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