Spokane Journal of Business

Three buildings planned at North Idaho College

NIC seeks architects on two projects worth $16 million; design has begun on a third

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North Idaho College, in Coeur dAlene, is seeking architects to design two new buildings on campus that together are expected to cost nearly $16 million.

In addition, the college already has hired an architect to design a third building, a Native American cultural center, although an estimated cost hasnt been determined for that project yet, says NIC President Michael Burke.

The largest of the proposed new buildings is a 60,000-square-foot classroom and laboratory facility that would house the colleges nursing, life sciences, and allied-health programs, Burke says. The estimated cost of the project is $11 million, which would be paid for with a combination of state funds and private donations, he says.

Idahos Department of Public Works recently issued a request for proposals to select an architect for that project. Those proposals are due by mid-August, and an architect will be chosen sometime after that, says Bob Murray, division chairman of NICs natural sciences programs.

Murray says he cant say now when construction of the building might begin, because the college still must secure funding from the Idaho Legislature. The college already has requested that the project be funded in the 2001 legislative session, Burke says.

The planned building likely would be located north of the Edminster Student Union Building, where NICs baseball field currently is located, Murray says, although thats only a recommendation from the (campus) master plan at this point. Under that scenario, the baseball diamond would be rebuilt elsewhere on campus, he says.

In addition to the nursing and life-sciences programs, the new allied-health building would house the colleges health-related degree programs, such as respiratory therapy and physical therapy, Burke says. All of those programs interconnect, but currently are scattered throughout the NIC campus. The new building would give the science-related programs new laboratory facilities, which he says we are sorely out of at this point.

We are experiencing a pretty unusual phenomenon, he says. We have waiting lists for students who are wanting to take our science courses. He adds that NICs nursing program cant be expanded until more classrooms are available for basic science classes.

So far, the college has received $100,000 from the Idaho Legislature to pay for preliminary plans for the building, he says.

NICs second proposed project would be a 200-bed, $4.9 million residence hall for students, Burke says. The college has issued a request for proposals for conceptual design of the structure, which are due on Aug. 1, and hopes to hear from architects and residence-hall designers nationwide.

We want to hear from the industry, and have them tell us what the current trends are in residence halls, Burke says. At that point, were going to go back to the college board and say, This is the direction we want to go.

The college will seek design proposals after that process is completed, and its hoped that construction of the residence hall will begin next spring, says Lanny Stein, NICs director of auxiliary services. The hall is expected to be paid for with revenue bonds issued by the state of Idahos Dormitory Housing Commission, with the bonds being paid off with student fees, Burke says. Stein says the state has not yet approved the project, although the colleges board of trustees has agreed on the bonding plan.

The residence hall would replace a dormitory that was demolished in 1998. Currently, North Idaho College has no on-campus student housing.

NICs third planned new building, the Native American Cultural Center, currently is being designed by a Native American architect, Johnpaul Jones, of the Seattle-based Jones & Jones architecture firm. Jones & Jones also designed a Native American cultural center at Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Burke says. The Coeur dAlene Tribe has given NIC a $40,000 grant for design work on its cultural center project. Burke says the structure likely will be built behind Seiter Hall, near the shore of Coeur dAlene Lake.

We really have to sit down and decide what the design is before an estimated construction cost can be released, Burke says. Once the design has been completed, the school will launch a fund-raising drive to pay for the project.

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