BOISE - The College of Western Idaho is trying to decide what its next steps will be after a $39 million funding request was narrowly defeated at the polls on Tuesday.
With 231,760 votes cast in Ada and Canyon counties, the plant facilities levy failed by the narrowest of margins - just 144 votes.
Had the request passed, CWI planned to construct a new health science building on the Nampa campus. College officials say the funds would have allowed more than 2,500 students to take health science classes, and would have helped address the healthcare skills gap in the Treasure Valley.
CWI's vice president of communications Mark Browning told KTVB on Thursday that health sciences remains the school's top priority moving forward.
"The fastest growing demographic is [age] 65-plus, growing at six-times the rate of everything else," Browning said.. "And what do people need at 65-plus? Regular medical care."
Browning added that right now the college has a capacity problem for students looking to get into the healthcare field.
"The problem that we have is that the need is not going away, and we just kicked it down the road a little further," Browning said.
The state has earmarked $10 million for the project, but that money is only available if the school raises the $39 million by next June.
The CWI board of trustees is planning to meet next week to consider asking for a recount. The school may also consider taking the funding request to voters again next May.