The College of Western Idaho expects to open portions of its new Micron Center for Professional Technical Education as early as Monday, June 11, with the entire building opening in time for the start of the fall semester at the Nampa campus on Monday, Aug. 27. Boise Weekly was among those to get a first look inside the $16.9 million project that will include student services, a campus bookstore, administrative offices, tutoring, classrooms and industry labs.
“Our [department] has been in the same facilities for over 30 years, and we outgrew those facilities about 25 years ago,” said Jeff Schroeder, transportation department chair.
The new facility, housed in a converted building that was once a Sam’s Club, was originally 137,552 square feet. With the addition of a second floor, the total space for the college will amount to more than 176,000 square feet.
Nine programs, currently located on the Boise State campus, will move into the new facility, including auto body, automotive and diesel technologies, small engine repair, and welding and fabrication. The building also includes three large garage bays, as well as heavy equipment shops, electronics labs, hydraulics equipment and space for robotics and manufacturing, allowing room for students to do work that, at previous facilities, was done outdoors.
“We’re expanding the programs into existing fields that have a need,” said Schroeder.
With the new space, CWI has the ability to offer new areas of study, including light-duty diesel, hybrid technology and renewable energy studies.
CWI is expecting as much as a 30 percent increase in the size of its student body. Most of the school’s programs have been turning down waitlisted students for several years.
In addition to school facilities, the Micron Center is home to several industry labs available for rent by businesses to train their employees. Because of the range of facilities it is now able to offer, CWI serves as a regional training center for national companies that require employees to have specialized skills, such as welding.
“This facility is unparalleled,” said CWI President Dr. Bert Glandon. “There is nothing like this in the Western United States.”