Why has CWI been quiet about its bond vote? It’s about strategy, trustee says

Proposed College of Western Idaho campus at Main Street and Whitewater Park Boulevard.
Proposed College of Western Idaho campus at Main Street and Whitewater Park Boulevard.

The College of Western Idaho is quietly targeting voters it believes will support its $180 million bond to expand its Nampa campus and build a permanent campus in Boise, says Emily Walton, school trustee.

Supporters are using digital messages and phone calls aimed at those most likely to support the school’s robust building proposal, such as young people, she said.

They are also relying on businesses supportive of the school to spread the word among other businesses and employees about why voters should support the bond.

Gov. Butch Otter has endorsed the bond. “The voters and taxpayers of Ada and Canyon counties stepped up to the challenge back in 2007 (when they voted to create the school) and it is time to do so again,” Otter said.

Other backers include Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, Nampa Mayor Bob Henry, Nampa Chamber of Commerce and Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The 2007 vote to create the school was marked by a highly visible, several-months-long campaign. But trustees believe CWI has a track record now and a good reputation, Walton said.

Voters will be asked Nov. 8 to approve the bond that would put a health sciences building and student center — which would include academic counseling and other services — on the existing Nampa campus. The other part of the bond would pay for the first building of a Boise campus, to be located at Main Street and Whitewater Park Boulevard.

CWI’s bond will cost taxpayers $22.31 per $100,000 of taxable value of their house each year for 25 years. That would more than double the college's current tax rate of $16.63 per $100,000.

A two-thirds vote is required for approval.