Update – UM President + Commissioner of Higher Education Comment on Choice of Missoula College Location [AUDIO]
UPDATE - 5 p.m. Wednesday, October 2
University of Montana President Royce Engstrom said on Wednesday, October 2, that the decision to build the new Missoula College at the East Broadway site came after months of studies and meetings with school and community groups.
"It's a decision that we've been working on for quite some time," Engstrom said. "After the last two forums a week or so ago, I integrated comments from the community, along with my own considerations and advice from others, and arrived at my decision. That decision to place the new Missoula College on East Broadway really was based in the end on a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the university, and Montana, and the Missoula Collage as the entryway into Missoula."
Engstrom said although some community groups strongly protested placing the college at the South Campus site, which is the current home of the University Golf Course, his decision was not based on those protests.
"In the end, no," Engstrom said. "I made the decision based on what would be the best educational opportunity for our students, and what made the most sense for the University of Montana and the community. I think that this has been a process involving many people, and many different groups with strongly held opinions, and it was important to listen to all of that, bring it all together and make the best decision possible."
University of Montana President Royce Engstrom:
Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said from his Helena office that he agreed the East Broadway site was the right choice for the new Missoula College.
"Regardless of how we got there, I think it's the right decision," Christian said. "It's the right place for the campus and I think it will serve the students well. As a bonus, I think it gets the ball rolling much sooner, and that's something we're all looking forward to. The sooner we can get the building up, the sooner we can start serving students."
Christian said the decision means the new college will go up sooner than later.
"We've already had Board of Regents approval, as well as funding from the legislature, so those steps are already in place," Christian said. "As soon as some important logistical steps have been taken, we can start to see this building go up. The short answer is that I'm hopeful that sometime in the building season next year we get this project started."
Montana Board of Regents Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian:
After months of public comment and study, University of Montana President Royce Engstrom announced on Wednesday, October 2, that the East Broadway site will be the new location for the Missoula College.
For several years, the South Campus site was the sole choice for the new Missoula College site. However, community groups and neighbors in the vicinity of the present University of Montana Golf Course conducted a spirited campaign urging the university to choose a different location.
Engstrom said a feasibility study was conducted in July outlining plans for a multistory building, along with parking and bicycle spaces at the location, which is across the river from the main campus and adjacent to the MonTec business incubator.
Engstrom announced in May that two sites had been selected as possibilities for the new Missoula College. The South Campus, which is the site of the University of Montana Golf Course, and the East Broadway location.
He maintained that the South Campus site would remain the location for future university expansion projects under the South Campus Master Plan, approved by the board of regents in 2007.