Contributions move expansion at Northwest Indian College

Northwest Indian College 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.

But construction of two planned buildings had stalled, until recently.

This fall, the Lummi Indian Business Council voted to approve a $1.5 million contribution to NWIC 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, in a press release. “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.

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 12,710-square-foot Coast Salish Institute will cost $3.6 million and be 12,710 square feet.

The Library/Technology Building, which is slated to cost $3.6 million and will be 13,000 square feet, is currently in the first stage of its bidding process. The goal is to finish construction 12 months from the time the bidding process is complete, said Dave Oreiro, NWIC’s vice president for campus development.

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

The Lummi Indian Business Council’s $1.5 million contribution will be distributed over the next three years.

In addition to its most recent support, the 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.

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

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.

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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