The University of Montana plans to ask state lawmakers at the 2013 legislative session for the entire $47 million it would cost to build a new College of Technology on the University Golf Course.
That’s opposed to last session, when UM requested $32 million to cover only the first phase of the project.
“We need it, so we wanted to put it on the table,” President Royce Engstrom said on Wednesday. “There’s a long ways to go before now and the end of the next legislative session. I’m sure there will be more discussion.”
Securing the entire amount would mean UM could bring the culinary arts program onto the new campus immediately. Included in the $47 million is about $4 million to extend infrastructure – such as water, sewer and Internet – to the golf course.
Meanwhile, there’s a contingent of residents who remain steadfast in their opposition to UM developing the golf course. They’re calling themselves “Advocates for Missoula’s Future,” and their main goal so far is preserving the University Golf Course.
Although Engstrom announced several months ago that the new COT building will be constructed on the golf course, Margaret Caraway, a longtime proponent of maintaining the status quo, said, “We’re still hoping we can change his mind.”
The public is invited to attend a meeting of that group on Tuesday, March 13, at 5 p.m. in the basement of the Missoula Public Library.
Pending legislative approval, the earliest the COT could go to bid for construction is spring 2014, said Bob Duringer, vice president of administration and finance.
This was one of the many building projects discussed earlier this week during a meeting of the University Council. Some of these projects are under way, while others are in the beginning stages as part of a building plan for the next three to five years, Engstrom said. About half of the money to pay for the projects was raised privately.
In the more immediate future, UM plans to have lights installed in Washington-Grizzly Stadium for the Grizzlies’ final spring scrimmage on April 14.
The university also is trying to figure out what to do about a new art annex.
Poor ventilation in the existing annex and concerns about reaccreditation of the School of Art have administrators looking for a location on campus to build a new facility. That would also make way for the athletic department to renovate the empty space into a new weight room, for $1.9 million.
Original cost estimates of $5.1 million for a new annex located near the facilities services building in a parking lot on the east side of Campus Drive came in higher than UM anticipated.
“That will require a significant amount of private fundraising,” Engstrom said.
The School of Art would like to consolidate its many students, currently spread across campus, into one building. The new annex would include ceramics and sculpture students, a photography lab and all graduate art students of various disciplines.
UM is still weighing cost and the scope of the project or whether to retrofit the existing annex, Engstrom said. However, until a decision is made, the athletic department will need to wait before moving forward with a new weight room.
In the meantime, UM will begin construction of a new $2.3 million academic center for Griz athletes in the Adams Center and eventually a $2.1 million renovation of the locker room that will increase its size by nearly four times.
The Board of Regents recently gave approval for UM to move forward with construction of the $9.3 million Gilkey Executive Education Center on the last bit of open green space between Arthur Avenue and the Gallagher Business Building.
Projects that are further down the road include renovations to the Interdisciplinary Science Building and basement of the Native American Center. UM intends to construct research labs as well as classrooms, offices and technology-based space. There is also a plan to make a biology lab in the basement of the Interdisciplinary Science Building accessible for those with disabilities, Engstrom said.