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August 16, 2012 9:16 am

EDITORIAL: Funding for NWC building a cooperative effort

Written by Ilene Olson

Kudos to Northwest College leaders and the Northwest College Foundation Board for finding a creative way to raise the local money needed to construct a new classroom building without increasing Park County residents’ property taxes.

A local match of nearly $5 million is required to access $9.8 million in state funding allocated for the planned Yellowstone Academic and Workforce Services Building by the 2012 Wyoming Legislature.

Through an agreement approved Monday by the NWC Board of Trustees, the local match will come from a combination of four sources: $2 million from the college’s reserves; a $5-per-credit facilities fee assessed students, beginning next year; a loan (anticipated to be about $1.2 million) from a Park County financial institution; and a commitment from the foundation to raise another $1.2 million through donations.

In addition, the foundation board has agreed to pay back the loan over a period of four years, with the college reimbursing the foundation for money paid on the loan, plus 2 percent interest, over a period of about five years.

Another year, it might have been appropriate to ask voters’ approval for a bond issue to pay for the nearly $5 million needed for the building. But members of both the college and the foundation boards knew that could be difficult to do in the current economic and political climate. Instead, they chose to work together to create a multifaceted plan that avoids placing too much strain on any one source — the college’s budget and reserves, student fees and the NWC Foundation.

We add our voices to those of board members who praised the plan and the partnership that made it possible.

As Trustee Rick LaPlante put it, “This is way better than my expectations.”

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