I am writing to express my support of locating the Missoula College on the South Campus property. 

I am not sure if there is anyone out there who has enjoyed or benefited from the University Golf Course more than I have. I learned to golf on the course, and now my children walk there to play. Living a couple of blocks away, we are regular users of the course and intramural fields; all seasons, for all reasons. It will be hard to see that change.

That said, I strongly support both the necessity of funding and expanding Missoula College and the use of this location for these facilities.

As an educator working in high schools and assisting with transition to work and college, I see the need for this change as critical. Loosely speaking, only 30 percent of individuals in the United States complete a four-year college degree. This means that 70 percent of our work force is trained in a different environment.

These are our nurses and dental hygienists, x-ray and lab technicians, our welders, plumbers, machinists, mechanics and obviously many more highly qualified individuals. Yet in high school, the emphasis is on the four-year institution, while two-year and technical training is barely mentioned.

My students, when asked about their plans, will say things like, “oh no, not college, I’m just going to the COT,” as if this is a second-rate choice. And why wouldn’t they think that? The current facility is indeed second-rate – really pretty unbelievable, actually. Further, even with the opportunity for a new facility, they are being told that they don’t rate highly enough to be a part of the University of Montana physically, and that a golf course is more important than their education.

UM President Royce Engstrom is absolutely correct in citing close physical proximity as improving broad use and flow between both institutions. We are talking common sense here: shared facilities offer the best to all. He has made clear, however, that he hears and appreciates Missoulians’ great love of their open space, and that he will work, both short-term (maintaining golf course) and long-term (working with the public to address open space over time) to preserve it as possible (maybe a nice little par 3?).

We need to support this move. It benefits our university, our city and our state economically over time. Most importantly, all of our students deserve the integrity of an excellent institution for learning and to know that their college is valued as part of the greater Montana University System.

Sally Ann Chisholm is an educator in Missoula Country Public Schools.

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(3) comments

BobbyLee
BobbyLee

Aside from the topic, that fact that an 'educator' cannot construct a decent argument, with irrefutable statistics, valid facts, and a viable opinion, is appalling, and rather proves the reason why universities all over the country have to provide extra classes for unprepared students. That alone is reason why the OCT should be separated from the university. I went to a COT, and I never once wanted anything to do the with the nearby university. Having now dealt with this university on a daily basis, that opinion has not changed; it is so poorly managed as to be considered incompetent in the private sector, and to a degree that it costs student unnecessarily more in student loans. But the university administration do not care about that, because 'money' is exactly what the location of the new COT is all about - that, and their fat salaries. The UofM does not want to be left out in the cold when COTs all over the country reap the rewards that they deserve for providing the nation with a skilled workforce - something that the UofM no longer does. 90% of the people I know at the UofM (inc. professors) consider it to be a dysfunctional institution. The other 10% are either drunk, or heavily invested in saying otherwise - in other words, they are liars.

Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda

Ms. Chisholm, lets be honest. You and your family are members at the Missoula Country Club, so please save us the mantra about loving and using the UM Golf Course.

As a public educator, you should know that two year COT (Missoula College) students have different needs and different skill sets than four-year college students. Combining two year and four year students in the same classes and at the same facilities is not good for either group. This is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Missoula County Schools recognize this even at the high school level. Why do you think that Willard alternative school is so successful?

The South Campus is over one half mile from the Mountain Campus. It may be closer to the Mountain Campus than the West Campus, but it is not part of the Mountain Campus. Missoula College students deserve their own campus, not three different campuses as UM is proposing.

The majority of the curriculum at the Missoula College is technical and medical based. The technical parts of the Missoula College like the heavy equipment program will stay at the West Campus. The West Campus is in closer proximity to Community Medical Center for the medical based curriculum. If the new Missoula College were to be built on the South Campus, the Missoula College would have three separate campuses instead of one consolidated campus in one location.

Beginning in 1996, the University of Montana conducted an eight-year process of examining seven different locations for the COT. Seventy-six individuals and thirteen committees studied seven potential locations for the COT including the West Campus near Fort Missoula and the South Campus where the golf course sits. This eight-year process that wrapped up in 2004 identified the West Campus as the preferred location for the COT and clearly ruled out the South Campus as a potential location.

Quite frankly, common sense tells us that building on the developed recreational open space that is commonly referred to as the South Campus offers the worst to all including the community, the neighborhood and the students. The South Campus has developed recreational open space including the nine-hole golf course and several athletic fields

Development at the West Campus near the Fort will destroy nothing of value. It is open fields with NO current development. The Fort Missoula area is less congested than the South Campus residential neighborhood. The impact of increased traffic would be felt much less severely at the Fort area.

We need to support building the Missoula College on the West Campus, the location that has been identified as the best place for the Missoula College because all of our students deserve the integrity of an excellent institution, specifically designed for THEIR needs, not the current needs of the UM administration.

Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda

Ms. Chisholm, lets be honest. You and your family are members at the Missoula Country Club, so please save us the mantra about loving and using the UM Golf Course.

I am appalled that a Missoula public educator like you is so small minded that you cannot recognize that two year COT (Missoula College) students have different needs and different skill sets than four year college students. Combining two year and four year students in the same classes and at the same facilities is not a good option. This is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

The South Campus is still over one half mile from the Mountain Campus. It may be closer to the Mountain Campus than the West Campus, but it is not part of the Mountain Campus. Missoula College students deserve their own campus, not three different campuses as UM is proposing.

The majority of the curriculum at the Missoula College is technical and medical based. The technical parts of the Missoula College like the heavy equipment program will stay at the West Campus. The West campus is in closer proximity to Community Medical Center for the medical based curriculum. If the new Missoula College were to be built on the South Campus, the Missoula College would have three separate campuses instead of one consolidated campus in one location.

Beginning in 1996, the University of Montana conducted an eight-year process of examining seven different locations for the COT. Seventy-six individuals and thirteen committees studied each location including the West Campus near Fort Missoula and the South Campus where the golf course sits. This eight-year process that wrapped up in 2004 identified the West Campus as the preferred location for the COT and clearly ruled out the South Campus as a potential location.

Quite frankly, common sense tells us that building on the developed recreational open space that is commonly referred to as the South Campus offers the worst to all including the community, the neighborhood and the students. The South Campus has developed recreational open space including the nine-hole golf course and several athletic fields

Development at the West Campus near the Fort would destroy nothing of value. The Fort Missoula area is less congested than the South Campus residential neighborhood. The impact of increased traffic would be felt much less severely at the Fort area.

We need to support building the Missoula College on the West Campus, the location that has been identified as the best place for the Missoula College because all of our students deserve the integrity of an excellent institution, specifically designed for their needs.

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