UM Investigation Into New Site for Missoula College Possibly Started by a Letter From a Law Firm
At one point in time, it appeared that the University of Montana was determined to place the Missoula College on the UM Golf Course. Now, however, investigation is underway on at least one new site, and according to lawyer Quentin Rhoades of the firm Sullivan, Tabarachi and Rhoades, the change of plans may be due to a single letter (full letter available in the link).
"We sent a letter to the commissioner of higher education, Commissioner Clayton Christian, at the beginning of the summer, kind of laying out our legal analysis for them," Rhoades said. "He responded by saying that they're going to continue talking about it, have a conversation with the community about it, and consider at least one more site. In his letter, he identified a site on East Broadway, across the river from the university."
Rhoades says he has letters from the 1940s from both the original donors and the university president at the time, indicating that the golf course lands be used for public space. Although Rhoades praises the UM for investigating other sites, he says the UM has a communication problem.
"The university said it would engage in a conversation with the community," Rhoades said. "We set up three public forums, two of those have happened.The university sent a representative to the first one, Peggy Kuhr. She showed up at the first one and she had input, and there was a conversation there, I don't think there was a lot of agreement, but there was an exchange of views... it was constructive. The second forum, Mrs. Kuhr declined to attend. I don't know if she intends to show up at the third one, but the university sent no representative to the second one and they've indicted no intent to send anyone to the third one."
Rhoades represents the Advocates for Missoula's Future, a group that advocates for the Missoula College to be built out by Fort Missoula. The third and final forum is scheduled to occur on August 29.