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NIC trustees approve property purchase

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | October 25, 2022 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — North Idaho College trustees voted 3-2 Monday night to approve the $620,000 purchase of a residential home on Military Drive as part of the college’s long-range planning efforts.

The home is located at 737 N. Military Drive.

Interim Finance Director Sarah Garcia told trustees on Monday that the seller, which county property tax records indicate is John Worrell, approached the college with an offer to sell.

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

Trustees Todd Banducci and Greg McKenzie opposed the purchase.

“We’ve recently had a property purchased that came under a lot of scrutiny,” Banducci said, referring to the $1 million purchase of the Fort Ground Grill in July. Banducci and McKenzie also voted against that purchase.

Banducci said he believed the appraised value of the Military Drive property was too high and occurred too long ago to be reasonable.

“We’ll set a record for anything we’ve spent on residential,” he said.

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

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

For years, the college has endeavored to purchase properties that are contiguous or within the main campus area as they become available. With this purchase, NIC will own half of the 16 homes on Military Drive, Garcia said.

There are no immediate plans for the home. But if the college obtains the remaining homes, Garcia indicated that the street could function as part of the campus and the homes could be used for student or staff housing.

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

The current headcount at NIC is 4,299. Enrollment for academic and career and technical education programs are down, Haft said, as well as for non-degree students. Dual-credit enrollment has increased.

Haft said more information will be available in November.