NWIC receives $1.5 million from LIBC for campus expansion

Guillory with LIBC

Dec. 11, 2012

Contribution will allow NWIC to complete two more buildings

Northwest Indian College (NWIC) has undergone some major growth over the past eight years – on its main campus at Lummi alone, six new buildings have been built and another is nearly complete. Until recently, though, construction on two buildings was stalled. NWIC still needed to secure more than $1 million before building could proceed.

This fall, NWIC got the funds it needed when the Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) voted to approve a $1.5 million contribution for construction of a new Library/Technology building and for a Coast Salish Institute building.

“These two buildings are first-class facilities and I believe our students deserve the best, including the best facilities and resources,” NWIC President Justin Guillory said. “I want our students to feel proud about being here, to feel good about being on campus, and I believe these buildings will help us provide that.”

The Coast Salish Institute is more than just a building, Guillory said. It is a place that will help to preserve and revitalize Coast Salish culture by serving as a dedicated space where tribal language, history and culture will be taught.

“It represents who we are as a tribal college,” he said.

The Library/Technology Building will include: shelving to hold more than 30,000 books; research materials; student study areas; computer rooms; education areas for families and children; a dedicated space for NWIC’s information technology department; and advanced technology and equipment. It will also house a dedicated room for Vine Deloria, Jr.’s, personal library, which was recently donated to the college.

“The Library/Technology Building will serve as a wonderful resource for the college and the Lummi community,” Guillory said, “and the Vine Deloria, Jr. Collection will be an invaluable resource for students, faculty, staff as well as community members and visitors.”

The Coast Salish Institute, which will be a one of a kind cultural center, will cost $3.6 million and be 12,710 square feet. The Library/Technology Building is slated to cost $3.6 million and will be 13,000 square feet.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to LIBC for their generous contribution and their willingness to make such a substantial investment in the community,” Guillory said.

He also thanked members of NWIC’s Board of Trustees and Foundation Board – particularly, Bernie Thomas, Kristin Kinley, Sandy Finkbonner and Levi Jefferson – and NWIC staff – particularly Greg Masten – for unwavering support throughout this process.

Greg Masten, director of NWIC’s development office, called LIBC’s decision to further support post-secondary education in the community “forward thinking.”

“The Lummi Nation is a shining example of visionary leadership investing in education for a brighter future,” Masten said. “Tribes face many obstacles present and future, and tribal leaders have to make decisions that will benefit the tribe for the next generations. The level to which a tribe will train and educate their members will be directly proportional to their success in the future.”

Many tribes across the nation are growing in governance, infrastructure, programs and economic development, Masten said, and they want to realize their sovereign rights and become self sufficient.

“Investing in education helps them to exercise their sovereignty because their own people will be able to protect their sovereignty, should policy issues arise, as well as implement programs and services,” he said.

Dave Oreiro, vice president for campus development at NWIC, said construction of the two new buildings wouldn’t have proceeded without LIBC’s contribution.

“We weren’t going to build anything until we received the sufficient funding for each of the projects,” Oreiro said. “Thanks to the council’s contribution, we can get the ball rolling again.”

The Library/Technology Building is currently in the first stage of the bidding process. The goal is to finish construction 12 months from the time the bidding process is complete, Oreiro said.

The bidding process for the Coast Salish Institute will begin approximately 90 days after bidding on the Library/Technology Building wraps up.

LIBC’s $1.5 million contribution will be distributed over the next three years. In addition to its most recent support, LIBC also donated a generous sum to the college in 2011 when it contributed $1 million to NWIC’s $44 million capital campaign, which is the driving force behind NWIC’s current expansion.

Including LIBC’s support, NWIC has raised $38.3 million of its $44 million goal. The capital campaign supports the college’s effort to become an institution that has the capacity to offer more four-year degrees – NWIC now offers two bachelor’s degrees and has more in the works.

Two buildings remain in the college’s current expansion plan. Fundraising for a new Workforce Training Center building is underway.

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