[Vision2020] Moscow college expansion plan gets another look

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Tue Jul 18 11:22:51 PDT 2017

Courtesy of today's (July 18, 2017) Lewiston Tribune.


Moscow college expansion plan gets another look
New Saint Andrews wants to use another downtown building to boost enrollment

MOSCOW - New Saint Andrews College is looking to nearly triple student enrollment and expand its campus in downtown Moscow, but it has to make it past the city first.

The Christian college is working to a acquire a conditional-use permit from the Latah County Board of Adjustment to use the vacant building on the 100 block of North Main Street - most commonly known as CJ's Nightclub or Cadillac Jack's - into a music conservatory with five additional classrooms and a 680-seat auditorium.

New Saint Andrews President Ben Merkle said acquiring the former CJ's property would allow the college to add an additional 300 students.

Merkle said the college has about 165 students now, and its current conditional-use permit allows 200 students. If the college doesn't expand soon, students may have to be turned away when that cap is reached.

"We're busting at the seams," Merkle said.

He said the current NSA college space, located across Main Street from Friendship Square, is about 15,000 square feet. The CJ's property would add 30,000 square feet to NSA's footprint in downtown Moscow.

Merkle said the CJ's property makes sense, because the two properties are just a few blocks away from each other.

To make the idea move, Merkle and NSA will need the city's approval.

On April 25 a conditional-use permit for the property was approved by the Board of Adjustment, but that approval was appealed to Moscow City Council, which ordered the board to re-examine how parking availability during lunch hour is affected by the college's expansion.

The board will take another look at the college's possible expansion at its meeting tonight.

Moscow Planning Manager Mike Ray said when the board approved the conditional-use permit, parking availability was evaluated at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Ray said, upon council request, the board will look at parking availability during the lunch hour.

Under the initial conditional-use permit passed and remanded back by council, the board required NSA to construct 47 off-street parking spaces. Ray said that figure could increase, decrease or stay the same depending on the board's opinion.

"They could do anything they could have done initially," he said, but the only way it will go back to council is if it is appealed again.

Ray said there were five appeals regarding the NSA expansion, most of which highlighted parking concerns.

Merkle said the expansion and increased student enrollment would add more foot traffic than vehicle traffic, which also would benefit downtown businesses. He said the property would give the entire student body a space where they can gather.

"It helps give the students a sense of pride about their college," Merkle said.

He said if the building was purchased, it will take two to three years before NSA is prepared to begin operations out of it. He also said the total cost of the project is still up in the air, but it's at least a $1 million project.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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