Update - Friday, March 22, 2013 5:00 p.m.

University of Montana Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr announced Friday afternoon that funding for the Missoula College was approved by the House Appropriations Committee. She issued the following news release.

Dear Members of the University of Montana Community,

There's great news out of Helena today regarding the JOBS Bill, HB 14:

Just this afternoon, the JOBS bill – which includes financing for the Missoula College building and a number of other important projects throughout the Montana University System – was passed by the House Appropriations Committee. The next step is consideration by the full House of Representatives, where we'll need a two-thirds majority vote, before this bill can move on to the Senate.

This is a bill that has received widespread support across the state because it promises to create jobs, spur economic growth and advance Montana's ability to provide high-quality, affordable higher-education for our citizens. Some of the most compelling testimony about the need for a much more appropriate and up-to-date Missoula College facility has come from our own students. We appreciate all the attention and questions about the JOBS bill and about the Missoula College facility. We certainly hope the legislators will pass the JOBS bill, helping to ensure that students and faculty of Missoula College will soon have a facility in which they can make their programs thrive.

As the process has moved forward, there are a few questions that deserve answering:

  1. Yes. The Board of Regents has determined that the South Campus is the most appropriate location for Missoula College. Significant effort and community input led the University and the Board to this conclusion. Our administration is assured – by both our internal examination of the land use documents and from outside legal evaluation – that there are no legal restrictions on the University's rights as a landowner that would preclude development on the South Campus. Please note, long ago Fort Missoula was eliminated as a potential location for multiple reasons. You can learn more about the location considerations here: http://umt.edu/buildmissoulacollege/Just%20The%20Facts.php
  2. Yes. The leadership of the University of Montana is eager to quickly resume public meetings regarding Missoula College and other issues. We will do so after the JOBS bill becomes law, which we hope will occur by the end of April. Only then will we all have the information necessary to have meaningful, substantive discussions about the process going forward.
  3. Yes. We are aware that assessments and projections regarding traffic and parking need to be addressed, specific to the development of the South Campus. We are committed to following the law, updating our environmental analysis, and taking appropriate steps to ensure that community insights, feedback and concerns are addressed, as we have in the past and will continue to do.

Congratulations to the students, faculty and community leaders who continue to work so hard to support and to promote Missoula College and the JOBS Bill. Keep up the great work!

Peggy Kuhr
VP for Integrated Communications
University Hall 109
The University of Montana

Peggy Kuhr Interview