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Mon, Aug. 03

Williams Coconino Community College building changes hands
Williams Unified School District to take ownership July 1, district officials hope to offer more Career and Technical Education classes

The Coconino Community College building located at the south edge of the Williams High School campus. Ryan Williams/WGCN

The Coconino Community College building located at the south edge of the Williams High School campus. Ryan Williams/WGCN

The Williams Unified School District (WUSD) will take ownership of the Coconino Community College (CCC) building July 1.

The CCC District Governing Board unanimously approved an amended lease agreement for the building at its Feb. 26 regular meeting.

Under the agreement, CCC will give the building to WUSD as a gift but will maintain some signage on the building. WUSD will use it for more Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classes.

"While it is a bittersweet endeavor and that yes, well laid plans didn't come to fruition, however please keep in mind... that we continue to serve Williams and the greater Williams area," CCC President Leah Bornstein said.

Williams students still attend CCC at the college's Flagstaff campuses or through online classes, Bornstein said.

CCC District Governing Board chair Patrick Hurley agreed.

"We're not losing our presence there," he said. "We're doing I think a very good job taking care of them here (in Flagstaff)."

CCC District Governing Board member Jack Hadley of Williams thanked Bornstein for her hard work involving the building. He also expressed regret at the decision.

"It just saddens me to know that the students in Williams didn't take better advantage of the higher education opportunities that we afforded it," he said. "But I am confident that the superintendent, school board and the staff will use the property to the advantage of all those in the community."

CCC District Governing Board member Nathaniel White agreed.

"It's just sad that we started with a great idea and great hopes and it just didn't work out," he said. "Also from a financial point of view... this is probably the best business decision we could make at this point."

Bornstein reminded board members that if CCC decides to offer classes in Williams in the future, officials can work with WUSD superintendent Rachel Savage to arrange it at no charge.

The WUSD Governing Board approved the amended lease agreement by a vote of 4-1 at its Feb. 13 meeting. Under the agreement, WUSD will pay CCC $4,055.50 for some of the furniture and equipment in the building. WUSD officials hope to use the building for two new CTE courses starting next school year.

WUSD Superintendent Rachel Savage said acquiring the building is an excellent opportunity for Williams schools and the community.

"It provides opportunity for growth and expansion at our high school because all of our rooms are currently being utilized," Savage said.

Savage said the district would like to call the building the WUSD STEM Center. Eventually, she'd like to use the building for improved science lab space.

"My goal, and I believe the goal of my leadership team, is to be visionary," Savage said. "I'm not just thinking about the students that we have today and the budgetary constraints that we have today. I'm looking ahead to the kids that are in kindergarten and the kids that are in preschool... and what will the needs be of those students and how can we position ourselves now to better meet those needs in the future."

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