Many questions surround the University of Montana administration’s choice of the golf course as a site for a new College of Technology. Some have wondered what happened to previous plans regarding a site near Fort Missoula that would not only have housed a new COT but would have showcased the hydrogen technology program. Some concerned residents wonder what happened to the money spent on planning the COT at the fort, and why was it suddenly abandoned?
There may be an answer to these questions. In a fiscal year 2005 report to the Department of Energy, which was providing funding for the proposed Futures Park, Dean Paul Williamson said: “The University of Montana – College of Technology plans to work cooperatively with its sister institution, Montana Tech, to develop and make available a complete college alternative energy curriculum.” He later added: “Future Directions: 1. Articulate two year program with four year engineering program.”
This was a fiscal year 2005 report covering the period from November 2004 through October 2005. Almost immediately, between late December and early January, President George Dennison instructed Vice President of Administration and Finance Bob Duringer to inform Williamson to cease work on the hydrogen program.
Perhaps it is coincidental that a report written in November 2005 that suggested a liaison with Montana Tech prompted the university to kill the program very shortly thereafter. Is it a case of an administration more concerned with empire building than retaining the benefits of a program centered on a new technology with all its benefits for Montana, Missoula, and yes, even the university?
And why is the current administration of President Royce Engstrom so hell-bent on continuing down the same road?
Joel Fleischer, Missoula