Getting Smarter Cheaper

It may not have blue turf, but CWI is moving to Boise along with about every other institution of higher learning. The school is growing faster than a seal pup and the trustees voted to buy the old Bob Rice Ford land along the Boise River at Main Street.

The financing for construction will require approval of two-thirds of voters, but given the success of the school we see it as a good bet to pass. The secret will be a straight forward proposal asking permission to sell bonds.

Here is the release from College of Western Idaho:

Today, College of Western Idaho (CWI) Board of Trustees approved entering into an agreement to purchase approximately 10 acres of land at 3150 W. Main St. which is located at the intersection of Main and Whitewater Park Blvd. adjacent to the Boise River. The site which was previously the home of the Bob Rice Ford car dealership is planned for future development of programs to support the educational needs of the surrounding communities.

Since its first class offering in January 2009, College of Western Idaho’s enrollment has skyrocketed. This fall 10,217 credit students and an additional 10,480 non-credit program students enrolled across the College’s campuses in Nampa and Boise, community locations, and online. This record enrollment included more than 7,000 students attending classes at various leased Ada County locations including the current Ada County Campus at Overland and Maple Grove in Boise.

CWI is forming a steering committee and will look to engage the community and surrounding neighbors as part of the planning discussions scheduled later this year. The intent is that the new site will enable the College to move from existing leased locations and expand the programs offered including, general academic transfer programs, business, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and expand its workforce and technical education programs.

“We are excited to find a location that supports our student community as well as the businesses seeking a trained and well educated workforce,” said Mary Niland, board president. “From the beginning, CWI has made a promise to our community to offer affordable access to higher education and training. We are keeping that promise through investment in our young people and the future of the western Idaho region.”

College locations in Ada and Canyon County have consisted of leased, shared, and a few owned buildings that have provided short-term solutions in meeting the current educational demand of western Idaho. To help address the growing needs of the community and space shortage, CWI has leased buildings to provide needed classroom and services space ; however, even with this unsatisfactory, stop-gap solution, students still face challenges scheduling classes and accessing support services without traveling around the valley. Additionally, the cost for leasing space continues to increase and with the improving economy, costs are going higher, which does not support a long term and stable campus environment for students attending CWI.

“This land will ensure that we continue to meet the growing demand for education in Idaho,” said CWI President Bert Glandon. “Completion of degree or certificate credentials is critical to narrowing the skills gap that many of our state’s employers are facing. Higher education is the key to a strong economy; and as your community college, we intend to continue to work closely with employers to ensure they have a locally skilled workforce to hire.”

“We are pleased to know that the land which was home to our family’s business for so many years, will now provide a legacy dedicated to the educational success of people in our community,” said Fred Rice, son of Bob Rice.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Do we get new ads claiming “Where main street ends and the CWI begins?”

  2. Colleges are growing rapidly as student debt grows ever larger, and the likelihood of being able to pay off that inescapable debt shrinks. Every year fewer graduates are using their degree, or working in a field that requires one. The graduates with jobs rate has been falling continually and now stands at an all time low of 74.3%. If there is no recovery, due to the death of our Ponzi scheme economy and the end of growth (end of growth in global energy supply), then a lot of bright eyed students are not going to recieve the promising future they were sold through slick marketing campaigns, but a life of debt slavery. If somehow, those debts are forgiven, then we, the taxpayers of America, will be on the hook for what is now the biggest debt bubble in history. The bubble now stands at $1.3 Trillion, with 30% now in default. Yet the colleges keep growing like a cancer across the land…

  3. Thanks for covering this, I was just about to write a guest article.

    One angle the big media is oblivious to is the newly formed 30th St Urban Renewal District. I’m pretty sure CWI will be tax exempt and therefore no tax increment will be available for redevelopment purposes.

    As I recall, the 30th URD is 540 acres. The 10.33 acres at 3150 W Main is about 2% of the total land area. But that location is by far the most valuable property having the most river frontage, closest large property to the River Park/Esther Simplot Park and prime corner location. As a tax increment asset it would certainly be worth more than 2% of the increment. We are talking about 10s of thousands of tax increment financing dollars vanishing.

    I swear, it’s one step forward, two steps back. Or maybe one step back.

    Frankly, the city and the neighborhood should and must oppose this deal. I don’t have time to look it up but does the new 5CDD zoning allow a college campus?

  4. This is much better than a baseball field!

  5. As of this morning (Thursday) the 2014 Ada County Assessor’s office valued (for tax purposes) this 10.33 acre parcel (S1004336105) at $3,499,700.
    While the CWI news release for some reason didn’t mention the purchase price, the Statesman reported “…CWI bought the land for $8.8 million” from the Rice Family Trust. It appears the seller had a good negotiator or that the county had a low assessment. Who represented CWI in this deal and why was the price seemingly so much higher than the assessed value?

    I have mixed emotions about the potential campus. As a long-time supporter of higher education in Idaho, I’m pleased that CWI has been doing well. But as a resident of the “West End”, I have concerns about the likely large amount of new traffic that will be generated.

    EDITOR NOTE–We checked with the Ada Assessor and they stand by the $3.5 million value, based in part on comps of nearby apartments.

  6. BSU, errhhh, I meant CWI is growing!

    The obvious question is, “Why would anyone attend the actual BSU for their first 2 years of bonehead classes?”

    Seems like the BSU & CWI race is going to be just like St Luke’s & St. Al’s race- the loser will be the consumer and the taxpayer.

  7. CWI, please provide the appraisal for the property.

  8. We would welcome CWI to Idaho City… and then no one would have to worry about traffic. Well except us folks that drive to Boise every morning.

  9. I’m with Boisecynic for the most part — the only caveat would be that the area needs a development magnet to get going… this helps tremendously.

  10. So now we have CWI, U of I, and BSU all within a 10 minute drive of one another. Redundant infrastructure, redundant processes, redundant administration, redundant faculty. More costs – for what? The only thing that makes insanity like this plausible, is Federal subsidy of education beyond all reason. As J. Smith points out – a huge ridiculous bubble. There is no reason that BSU alone, should be unable to provide for the educational needs of this part of the State, all under one roof, efficiently and for nominal cost. It just takes leadership who actually care about what is right – rather than egos.

  11. Discount Häus Of Worship
    Apr 23, 2015, 2:32 pm

    CAVEAT EMPTOR! : Visit CWI’s Facebook Page [ ] and look at the Reviews.

    You will quickly see that CWI has a long history of botching student’s Financial Aid, missing nebulous disbursement targets, giving erroneous and false information about the financial aid process and qualifying expenditures, along with myriad other complaints. For example : “Their One Stop office stands as a monument to some of the worst customer service I have ever even heard about…”.

    When dealing with them, it is advisable to get every single promise, pledge, time-frame, etc., in writing.

    You’re much better off looking at Boise State University . . .

  12. Cheaper for who… CWI means a tax increase for property owners. They fill the huge gap between weak public schools (in which my dog could have a 4.0) and BSU, ISU, U of I.

  13. Curiosity: Does the editor have a connection to CWI??


  14. Rod in SE Boise
    Apr 24, 2015, 11:03 am

    Regarding the headline for this topic “Getting Smarter Cheaper”: the grammar police called to remind us that going to college doesn’t make one smarter (or more intellegent), just better educated. Ignorance can be fixed, you are stuck with your IQ.

  15. Article in the paper today on the area. No mention of a baseball stadium. That’s good news.

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