UM to consider East Broadway site for Missoula College

2013-05-17T10:45:00Z 2014-10-19T08:07:31Z UM to consider East Broadway site for Missoula College missoulian.com

The University of Montana on Thursday said it will consider an alternative site on East Broadway for a new Missoula College, though officials said the South Campus location isn’t off the table.

Peggy Kuhr, UM’s vice president of integrated communications, said college and state officials will conduct a feasibility study on seven acres of university property located on East Broadway adjacent to the Montana Technology Enterprise Center.

The property sits across the Clark Fork River from the main campus. Kuhr said its proximity to UM makes it an attractive location.

“Part of the appeal is similar to the South Campus,” Kuhr said of the location. “It’s in close proximity to the mountain campus, it’s on an existing bus line, and there’s a Park and Ride facility there with 242 spots. It’s fully owned university property.”

The 2013 Legislature appropriated $29 million to fund construction of Missoula College, but left location up to the Board of Regents and university officials.

UM President Royce Engstrom said the East Broadway site includes space for a new building and adequate parking, along with service by existing bus routes and connectivity to infrastructure such as water, sewer and power.

“All along, the university has worked to involve the public in considering the best options for a new Missoula College building that will best serve the community and our students,” Engstrom said. “As we move forward, consideration of both the South Campus location and the East Broadway location will proceed.”

A group opposed to locating Missoula College on the South Campus threatened earlier this month to file a lawsuit if the project went forward.

Members of the group, Advocates for Missoula’s Future, have been firm in their opposition to the plan, citing concerns over losing the University Golf Course and open space.

Members of the group couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The South Campus site has won the approval of the Board of Regents and it continues as a possible location for the project, Kuhr said.

She added that Engstrom and Clayton Christian, the state’s commissioner of higher education, have discussed the potential of the East Broadway site in meeting the project’s needs now that funding has been approved.

“It’s one of those pieces of property that has come up in conversations,” Kuhr said. “Whichever site is selected, there’s interest in moving forward as quickly as possible.

“The go-ahead doesn’t mean the shovel is going in the ground immediately, but if we can move something ahead that allows a future generation of Missoula College students to have what they need, and sooner than later, that would be a good thing.”

Reach the Missoulian newsroom at @missoulian, at newsdesk@missoulian.com or at (406) 523-5240

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(14) Comments

  1. David1
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    David1 - May 19, 2013 7:54 pm
    Word.
  2. David1
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    David1 - May 18, 2013 8:39 pm
    You people don't understand that Missoula College needs to be consolidated on its own campus at the Ft. Missoula/West Campus site, which was selected in 2004/05 over 9 other sites in Missoula, including the golf course. UM is just shooting from the hip, displaying a woeful lack of planning for a decent Missoula College, thereby ignoring the needs of those students who need MC's services, best delivered at the Ft. Missoula/West Campus site.
  3. David1
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    David1 - May 18, 2013 8:35 pm
    I cannot agree more, Independent. The major mistake w/ the entire handling of 2-year colleges in this state was made by Dennison, years ago. All former MT COT's should be made fully functioning, independent from the universities. The first thing they need to do is take over remedial/developmental education in their communities, as well as adding arts & sciences programs for transfer & occupational students needing those courses. Each college should have one full-time faculty for college English, math, biology, physics, sociology, history, etc., in addition to programs the colleges already have. In short, they should be community colleges, just like Flathead Valley & the other local CCs.
  4. independent
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    independent - May 17, 2013 2:40 pm
    It is because of decreasing enrollment UM is pursuing this. It's so they can start charging COT students the same tuition as people attending UM. It as everything to do with money and nothing to do with education. I believe the Board of Regents should admits the huge mistake they made when combining the Universities and COTs and take them back to stand alone institutions.
  5. Waltzing Matilda
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    Waltzing Matilda - May 17, 2013 10:29 am
    The University of Montana administration is CLUELESS and they are liars! They have NEVER “involved the public in considering the best options for a new Missoula College building,” and the same problems that exist at the South Campus also exist on East Broadway.

    UM’s statistics show that seventy percent of Missoula College students drive a vehicle to school. The Park and Ride facility on East Broadway has 242 parking spots. Where do you suppose the other 1,500 student vehicles would park on East Broadway or on the South Campus?

    UM’s statistics also show that less than four percent of UM students attend classes at Missoula College and less than twenty percent of Missoula College students attend classes at the Mountain Campus at UM, yet the administration insists that the two schools must be close to each other.

    Whether the new college is built on East Broadway or on the South Campus, the Missoula College programs will be split onto three campuses. The Heavy Equipment and Industrial Technology programs will remain on the West campus. The Culinary program will remain near Sentinel High School. With the current plan, any students in the Industrial program or the Culinary program would be required to travel a long distance to take a computer class or a remedial class at the new college.

    UM Administrators are paid well to be critical thinkers. Why is it so difficult for them to see the obvious? One consolidated West Campus near Fort Missoula would best serve the majority of Missoula College students for convenience, accessibility and parking. And by the way, the West Campus is also on an “existing bus line.”
  6. tinlizzie
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    tinlizzie - May 17, 2013 9:23 am
    JonC - the Missoula College is a two year vocational school which was built in the 1970's to house 1700(probably too high of a number) well, it now has 3 times the number of students it was originally designed for. It is a much cheaper alternative to a 4 year program and students comes out with an Associates Degree in allied health sciences (X-ray tech's, Respiratory Therapists, Surgical Technicians, paralegals, ) plus they also have diesel mechanics and hands-on carpentry programs. This is the wave of the future - training people in fields that have good paying jobs without going into an astronomical amount of debt. I have a daughter who graduated from UM with a BS in English and another in History - she can't find a job other than minimum wage - a son graduated from Missoula College in Respiratory Therapy December 2011 and he is making over $22/hr. This is a win-win. We need more 2 year and tech programs.
    I am glad to see another alternate site - the East Campus makes much more sencse.
  7. MiddleFinger
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    MiddleFinger - May 17, 2013 9:21 am

    Considering the E. Broadway site is the best news I've heard from UM in a long time.

    Now all they have to do to claim the title is best-news-ever is to actually follow through and keep all Missoula College construction on East Broadway.

    Why on earth would a "green" university destroy prime community open space when there is a nice patch of eastern bloc post apocalyptical third world landfill space just across the river that if eyesores qualified for superfund money, would be high on Missoula's fix-it list.

    As tourists on I90 know, nothing screams welcome as loud as a parched dumpsite next to a world class river at the main entry point to the city. It tells outsiders that we care about our discarded junk and think it deserves a home on prime real estate.

  8. unknowncommenter
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    unknowncommenter - May 17, 2013 8:25 am
    Oh Great more traffic on East Broadway. it's already congested and hard to negotiate around eastgate shopping center. Lets start a group and protest this location.
  9. Gulick
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    Gulick - May 17, 2013 6:56 am
    And that's the purpose of education, right, Pistol?
  10. nananook
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    nananook - May 17, 2013 6:44 am
    Sounds like a much better location! Why have we only heard about it now? Will definitely help with the traffic problems!
  11. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - May 16, 2013 10:42 pm
    You're assuming most of us care about sports.
  12. sportscaster
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    sportscaster - May 16, 2013 6:55 pm
    One question: how long has this site been a possibility? Is it something UM kept in its hip pocket in case the heat got too strong on the golf course location? It seems like a pretty good spot, although I think UM could have fought off any potential lawsuit because of the precedents already set with buildings placed on the area surrounding the golf course. Whenever people put together what are meant to be iron-clad agreements they never, ever consider what might happen 50 to 100 years down the road. One more thing: if UM decides to proceed with the East Broadway site, a traffic light needs to be installed at the entrance to the facility. Getting traffic back onto East Broadway could be every bit the nightmare that opponents of the golf course site said it would be on South Avenue. - Bill Schwanke
  13. JonC
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    JonC - May 16, 2013 6:24 pm
    If someone would be so kind as to explain this to me. The Missoula College is under the control of the University of Montana. The University has been steadily raising tuition, cancelling classes, and terminating the employment of many instructors. The University has been citing decreased enrollment as the reason. If the University is in that much financial trouble why are they spending an inordinate amount of money on another campus?
  14. Pistol
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    Pistol - May 16, 2013 6:21 pm
    What about closing one of the public highschools, and converting it to UM ? We've been informed for years that Missoula's three schools don't have enough enrollment to be competitive in most sports. Win Win idea!
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