Flagstaff, Ariz. - In a move aimed to remain fiscally responsible in a time of decreased funding and to benefit future Coconino Community College students, College officials will transfer ownership of CCC's Williams building to the Williams Unified School District at the end of June.
The CCC District Governing Board voted unanimously 5 to 0, Tuesday, Feb. 26, to amend its original lease agreement with the Williams school district.
"It's a bittersweet ending, but the College will continue to serve Williams and the surrounding areas of Coconino County in other ways," said CCC President Dr. Leah L. Bornstein.
Included in the agreement, is that the school district will continue to allow the College to use the Williams campus without charge, at times mutually agreeable and approved for classes, student activities, board or committee meetings and other functions.
"We're not losing our presence entirely," said District Governing Board Chairman Patrick Hurley. "We will continue to serve that part of the County through classes in Flagstaff, which is where Williams residents have indicated they prefer to take classes."
The CCC Williams campus, which was built in 2002 on the Williams High School campus, was a well-intended idea that never gained popularity. Low enrollment, declining state aid and CCC's extremely low property tax rate reduced the College's choices for sustainability.
"We need every penny focused on instruction and we can't afford to maintain a building without enrolled students," Bornstein said.
The building has been underutilized for a variety of reasons. Enrollment in CCC classes in Williams has been significantly lower than both the College and the high school anticipated. Many Williams High School graduates attend CCC, but prefer to attend classes at the College's main campus in Flagstaff, due to the additional amenities associated with a larger campus, social atmosphere including student clubs and the opportunity to meet new people.
Also, the larger availability of online classes offered through CCC allows greater flexibility for Williams residents to take College courses at home and at their convenience. CCC remains committed to serving the students and residents of Williams in ways that are convenient, cost-effective, and in the manner they prefer.
District Governing Board member Jack Hadley, who represents the Williams area, said he is convinced the Williams school district will use the building effectively.
"I am confident the Williams superintendent and school board will use the property to the advantage of all the community," Hadley said.
The Williams School Board agreed to amend the original lease agreement on Feb. 13.
"We see this as a continued investment into the Williams community that will allow the high school to offer additional career and technical and dual enrollment classes," Bornstein said.
Williams Superintendent Rachel Savage said she is supportive of taking ownership of the building, because it will allow her staff to develop additional high school course offerings.