Plans for a North Idaho College satellite campus in Bonners Ferry are moving forward.
Real estate negotiations are under way, the college is proposing a budget that includes funding for operations, and the Kootenai Tribe has offered to cover the first year’s lease payments.
But college officials and the Boundary Economic Development Council – a consortium that includes Boundary County, the cities of Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs, the Kootenai Tribe and the Boundary County School District – said there’s no firm timeline for when the center may open.
Robin Ponsness, director of the economic development council, said Boundary County received a $30,000 Idaho Commerce and Labor grant to help toward the purchase of a facility to house the college’s operations.
She said the county and the Panhandle Area Council, a nonprofit economic development agency, were working together to negotiate the purchase of a facility.
North Idaho College trustees will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday for a second reading and possibly take action on the college’s proposed budget for 2005-06.
That budget includes $50,000 for operations and staffing of a Bonners Ferry center, according to Rolly Jurgens, NIC’s vice president for administrative services.
The Kootenai Tribe has committed to covering the first year’s lease payment of $18,000 and is hoping to cover the second year’s lease payment as well, Tribal Chairman Gary Aitken Sr. said Monday.
“It’s education,” Aitken said.
“We need it for our people, we need it for our youngers, and we need it for some of the people who have been displaced from jobs and need to learn a new career.”
Initially, NIC plans to offer general education classes.
NIC spokesman Kent Propst said the college would then assess the needs of the community and decide what degree or certificate programs should be offered.
The college has been meeting with Boundary County officials for almost two years to discuss the idea of having a satellite center.
The college has had a satellite campus in Sandpoint since 2000 and opened a center in Kellogg in January.
In the long-term, NIC is looking to open a satellite campus in Benewah County as well, Propst said, though the college has yet to begin discussions with leaders there.
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