Next to Joe’s Crab Shack, across from Interstate 184 on Main Street in Boise, sits a vacant cement parking lot, adjoining a beige grass field. Joggers, cyclists and dog walkers provide steady traffic on the adjacent Greenbelt; Quinn’s Pond is visible through a chain-link fence supporting signs that read, “CWI: College of Western Idaho.” This site, 3150 W. Main St., is the future home of CWI’s Ada County campus.
Dozens of cars filled that parking lot for an event Tuesday morning where CWI unveiled conceptual plans for the new campus, a project officials hope to be ready for students by 2020. The campus could be up to 600,000-square-feet, according to Craig Brown, vice president of resource development for the college. About 20,000 students are enrolled in the College of Western Idaho, according to numbers provided by the college.
City and education officials, including Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, Ray Stark of the Boise Chamber of Commerce, and Boise State University provost Martin Schimpf spoke at the event, providing their take on what this new campus means for the community. The speakers said they envision more partnership with CWI now that it will be located in downtown Boise. Schimpf said CWI will play a fundamental role in achieving the state’s goal of 60 percent of residents completing college.
On July 13, CWI unveiled plans for its Nampa campus, which included two new buildings. In a near unanimous vote in December, the CWI Board of Trustees approved to move forward with the purchase of the 10 acres of land in Boise. The board agreed to move forward to purchase the property for $8.7 million.
“The characteristic of this campus will be different than our Nampa campus in its urban environment with a strong connection to community, the Greenbelt, and the other attributes in this area,” Brown said. The site will focus on urban transit as another available option for students, and the programs CWI is contemplating will largely involve the technology and business sectors, he said.
Four of the five CWI Board of Trustees — chairwoman Mary Niland, of Nampa, and vice chairman Guy Hurlbutt, trustee Stanley Bastian and trustee Mark Dunham, all of Boise — were in attendance. Niland said she felt it was a great event, with good representation from Ada and Canyon counties. Niland said the board’s next step is to get a bond, possibly $180 million, on the November ballot. She said the college wants to talk to the voters about what the college is intending to do and how it will affect their lives by bringing economic development, such as jobs with better wages and benefits.
- READ MORE of this article on idahopresstribune.com.
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CTA EDUCATION DESIGN STUDIO DIRECTOR COREY JOHNSON:
“CWI is all about equipping students for success in their desired career field. CTA is so excited to help them implement their vision of a dynamic downtown urban campus. The site for the new campus is an awesome location that is connected to the Greenbelt, Boise River, whitewater park, primary transit routes, adjacent neighborhoods, downtown amenities, and a five-minute peddle from Boise State University and other community and business partners.”