North Idaho College trustees approve property purchase

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North Idaho College’s purchase of a residence hall means the college is one step closer to fulfilling its expansion plans.

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – North Idaho College’s trustees voted 3-2 Monday night to purchase a $620,000 apartment building on Military Drive as part of the college’s long-term planning efforts, our partners at the Coeur d ‘Alene Press.

The house is located at 737 N. Military Drive.

Interim finance director Sarah Garcia told trustees Monday that the seller, who according to county property tax records is John Worrell, has approached the college with an offer to sell.

By law, an Idaho public entity cannot pay more than the appraised value of a property. Lakeside Appraisals appraised the home at $620,000 in August.

Trustees Todd Banducci and Greg McKenzie opposed the purchase.

“We recently purchased property that has been under very close scrutiny,” Banducci said, referring to the $1 million purchase of the Fort Ground Grill in July. Banducci and McKenzie also voted against this purchase.

Banducci said he believes the estimated value of the Military Drive property is too high and too old to be reasonable.

“We’re going to set a record for everything we’ve spent on housing,” he said.

Garcia said she came to the September board meeting to discuss the matter in the executive session. However, the trustees did not enter the executive session.

“This is the earliest we could have this conversation,” Garcia said. “That’s why the report is two months old.”

For years the College has sought to acquire land contiguous to or within the main campus area as soon as it becomes available. With this purchase, NIC will own half of the 16 homes on Military Drive, Garcia said.

There are no immediate plans for the house. But if the college gets the remaining houses, Garcia said the street could function as part of the campus and the houses could be used for student or staff housing.

During Monday’s meeting, Dean of Enrollment Services Tami Haft also informed trustees that NIC’s enrollments are down 6.2% and full-time equivalents are down 7.2%.

The current number of employees at NIC is 4,299. Enrollments for academic and vocational and technical education programs are declining, Haft said, as are non-degree students. Dual credit enrollment has increased.

Haft said more information will be available in November.

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