It wasn’t the highlight of the State of the University address given Friday by University of Montana President Royce Engstrom, but Missoula College and its future location were in the text.
Engstrom touched on a number of building projects slated to take place across the University of Montana campus this year, including the $9.3 million Gilkey Center for Executive Education and Entrepreneurship, and a new student-athlete academic success center.
But a new Missoula College may be the most anticipated project of all, and university officials are studying two possible locations, including the South Campus and an alternative site identified earlier this year on East Broadway.
“Our original plan was to place the building on the South Campus,” Engstrom said during his address. “We are exploring an opportunity to make a more direct connection to the business community, to downtown and to MonTEC – our business incubator – through another location on East Broadway.”
With that, Engstrom said the university would arrange and host forums to seek feedback from the public on the proposed East Broadway site.
Engstrom said the forums would be held in the coming weeks. The university received the feasibility study on East Broadway from StudioFORMA in early July.
“We have conducted over the course of the summer a feasibility study on that location (East Broadway) with the help of an architect,” Engstrom said. “At this point, we’ll schedule two or three public forums to present that idea and get more public input on that and proceed from there.”
Engstrom said the university would make a final decision about location after the forums. The Missoula College project would then go to final design and construction.
Other projects looking to move forward include the Payne Family Native American Center. The lower level will be finished out as the Elouise Cobell Land and Cultural Institute.
Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, played a pivotal roll in achieving a multibillion-dollar settlement between the federal government and Native Americans across the country.
The center will include a high-tech land studies laboratory and a communications center to connect students and faculty with indigenous populations around the world.