Over the last couple of weeks, College of Western Idaho has made some exciting announcements related to our long-term development planning. This activity has garnered a great deal of public attention. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some additional perspective and reiterate that CWI, our students, and supporters are overwhelmingly supportive and excited about the future we are creating for students and our community.
CWI is filling an important role in helping Idaho residents access higher education and has already built a reputation for bridging educational gaps through its strong partnerships with Idaho’s high schools, universities and the growing business community.
This is evident in the success of the students we serve and the increase in the number of people we are serving. CWI is now serving more than 20,000 students a year including more than 7,000 students attending classes at CWI’s Boise locations. As CWI employees, students, friends, and supporters, YOU are helping make a difference. I receive great feedback every day that I am out in the community about the incredible education being provided at CWI!
Through our growth, we have kept access open and acquired short-term leased facilities to help meet the demand. The college has and continues to involve the community and engage in strong partnerships that benefit our students and the community.
Today, I am standing in CWI’s Micron Center for Professional Technical Education, which is one example of the tremendous collaboration and long-term development projects we completed through the support of local foundations, businesses, and individual supporters. We were able to construct a state-of-the-industry, regionally recognized technical training center that is a great investment in training our future workforce.
CWI is seeking independent accreditation status which requires the College to be fiscally responsible and sustainable. As we continue work on expanding our long-term, three campus concept – with facilities and services to support Ada County, Canyon County, and online, we will meet these accreditation requirements.
The college is currently spending more than $2M dollars a year on leased facilities. Along with anticipated increases in costs, these facilities are located within business complexes and are not ideal for the accessibility of students. Through the College’s long term strategic planning, funds have been targeted for future strategic infrastructure needs.
Last year with community input, CWI’s Nampa Campus Master Plan was updated to reflect how the College can better serve the community and prepare for future growth. The College also completed programming for two buildings that were identified as the greatest needs on the Nampa Campus; a Student Center and Health Science building.
Additionally, with more than 50 percent of the student population coming from Ada County, CWI has been looking to acquire a permanent campus location for students attending classes in Boise. Unlike the Nampa Campus where we have land for development that is easily accessible, we have not yet secured a permanent site for Boise.
We have followed all state guidelines and policies and have been evaluating properties throughout Ada County for more than three years.
Upon completion of an in-depth review of locations, size, access and cost of land particularly in the greater downtown Boise area, the Board of Trustees determined that the property at Main and Whitewater Park Blvd. is the best long-term investment specific to serving our students. The sites that we evaluated ranged in size, location and costs between $16-$36 per square foot. Our Board also took into account another property at 11th and 13th which was recently valued at $8M for 5 acres which is half the size of the 10 acre parcel.
The purchase price that we have entered into agreement for is well within the range of the properties we evaluated and the greater downtown Boise area.
The benefits of the property include the adjacency to the river and greenbelt and roadways capable of handling high volumes of traffic in an urban environment. Based on these factors our Board of Trustees approved entering into a purchase agreement for the land.
The College has 180 days as part of the feasibility period to complete additional due diligence on the property for future development. The intent is that the new site will enable the College to move from existing leased locations and expand programs that benefit our community.
At the end of the day, we will have supporters who believe in education and trust that our Board of Trustees and college employees are focused on helping students succeed.
We need your help continuing to educate our community on the vital role we are playing in education and how accessibility to quality educational facilities is important to our students.
The plans for expansion on the Nampa Campus and the property that we looking to purchase in Boise that will get us out of leases are great investments in the future of higher education access for our community.
I am very excited for the educational opportunities both will bring to our community and the added support we will be able to provide to students and the people we serve.
Dr. Bert Glandon
College of Western Idaho