COEUR d'ALENE - A new option has emerged in the ongoing discussion about where North Idaho College should expand its professional technical education program. Representatives from Jacklin Land Company, Tom Stoeser and Bruce Cyr, gave a presentation Monday at a community forum hosted by the college, the third in a series of forums NIC has held to gauge public opinion on its technical education expansion.
The Jacklin representatives offered a plan for NIC to acquire the Jacklin Seed property, available because Jacklin Seed's parent company, J.R. Simplot, decided earlier this year to shut down the Post Falls facility.
"RGU contacted us about the potential of converting the Jacklin Seed Company site into North Idaho College's professional technical campus," Stoeser said.
RGU is the architecture and planning company that completed a comprehensive feasibility study for NIC, considering several locations for the professional technical program's expansion. Much of the debate, until now, has been centered on whether to situate the program on the former mill site property adjacent to NIC's main campus, or at KTEC (Kootenai Technical Education Campus), near the new PTE high school on the Rathdrum Prairie.
Jacklin Land Company is offering NIC a 10-year lease-purchase deal for the property on the I-90 corridor. It includes 14 acres, 240 paved parking spaces, and an existing building with 170,000 square feet of open space in which to develop programs.
Stoeser and Cyr said the cost would be half that of the other site options being considered under the RGU study, and students could be in the building sometime this year. The cost to the college, including the build out to accommodate the 10-year needs of NIC, would be about $33 million, they said.
"We think that you can do this without a bond, and the other sites are going to need a bond or some other financing mechanism," Stoeser said.
He said NIC has $6.4 million in reserve for capital projects and it generates another $2.4 million per year for capital expenses in its budget. The plan will still leave a $3.3 million shortfall, but he said Jacklin would work with NIC to help it come up with the money.
Several Post Falls elected officials and Shelly Enderud, the city's administrator, spoke to the NIC trustees present - Ken Howard and Todd Banducci.
"The Jacklins are open to anything you suggest. The city is wide open to supporting the Jacklins ... At the end of the day, please give Post Falls a most serious, top-level consideration," said Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin.
Enderud said that if the Jacklins brought an offer like this to the city, she would be "sitting up and listening."
"I don't think you're going to get a bond in this economy for $30 million with 66 and two-thirds of the vote," Enderud said.