A special session of the board of trustees on Sept. 9 cleared the Corridor to Higher Education by authorizing the drawing up of a memorandum of understanding that will elucidate the college‘s will to purchase the 17-acre mill site from Marshall Chesrown, owner of mill site LLC.
Attorney Marc Lyons will draft the memorandum for the college and expressed the likelihood that the North Idaho College Foundation will be involved.
“It’s contemplated, one of the likely options here, is that the North Idaho College Foundation might be actually the purchaser of the property,” Lyons told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “NIC will have a lease option arrangement with the Foundation with the right to subsequently acquire the property in time.”
The NICF is an independent, nonprofit organization that accepts and manages donations on behalf of NIC.
The college is in a similar lease agreement with the NICF concerning the Work Force Training Center in Post Falls, for which the NICF hold the deed.
“This is not a simple transaction,” Lyons said.
There are environmental and title issues with the land that need resolution before more concrete action can be taken. “Those things take time,” Lyons told the Press “(and) getting everybody lined up on the details does take some time.”
Concerns have been expressed to Trustee Christie Wood that the $10 million purchase price set by Chesrown may change.
“Mr. Chesrown has consistently stated that he’s committed to the $10 million sales price, and we’re operating on that agreement,” Lyons told the Press.
Lyons also made a recommendation to the board regarding the hiring of Danielle Quade, of the firm Hawley Troxell Ennis and Hawley, as bond counsel.
From $5,000 to $10,000 is what it is expected to cost the college to hire Quade; the fee will not come out of the college operating budget.
A protest was fielded at the meeting by businessman Richard Phenneger over his belief that inadequate information has been provided and that it is not justified for the board to take this action with taxpayer money.
Phenneger protested that he feels NIC has not provided enough information about the financing of the land the prospective college expenses and whether or not a business plan exists. “The point is when you’re spending taxpayer money you have to hold yourself to the highest standard,” Phenneger told the Spokesmen-Review.
Two public forums will be held regarding NIC’s purchase of the DeArmond mill site. They will be, Sept. 23 at noon at the Coeur d’Alene School District’s Midtown Meeting Room at Linden Avenue and Fifth Street and Sept. 25 at 7 a.m. in the Lake Coeur d’Alene Room of the Edminster Student Union Building at NIC.