Idaho Falls will be home to a new community college as voters in Bonneville County overwhelmingly voted "yes" to College of Eastern Idaho.

On Tuesday, voters approved a community college district that would turn Eastern Idaho Technical College into a community college. 

Residents in Bonneville County were divided on the idea of bringing a community college to Idaho Falls.

Those who supported College of Eastern Idaho said the school would boost higher education in the area, and would benefit students who can't afford to go to a four year university.

"As a high school teacher I see a lot of kids with a lot of potential not going to college because the cost is out of their reach to be able to do that," said Caroline Walline, supporter of the community college.

Currently, there isn’t a need for new infrastructure at EITC with its existing buildings. Five million dollars have been allocated by Idaho State Legislature for startup costs, 

Opponents say eastern Idaho already has other options when it comes to higher education such as BYU-Idaho, College of Southern Idaho and Idaho State. They were also opposed to the $13.37 property tax increase.

"I feel no need for me to vote yes because I have nobody in my family that is going to go to college, and I also wouldn't like my mother’s property taxes raised because she has enough problems on a fixed income paying those as is," said Cal Nations, opposed the community college. 

Statement from Idaho State University: 

Idaho State University acknowledges the importance of postsecondary education in Idaho Falls, and we look forward to closely collaborating with the new community college to jointly advance higher education opportunities. ISU will continue to serve the community of Idaho Falls through our existing campus and the future polytechnic institute.


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