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Plans for new Missoula College building before legislature again

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Feb 14 2013 06:45:50 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 14 2013 09:28:00 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Lawmakers said no to a new building for what was formerly called the Missoula College of Technology twice, once in 2009, and again in 2011.

It would likely be the first structure built on a new University of Montana campus, "the south campus." Part of the rub is that it's home to UM's golf course.

Missoula College was built for 700 students. It's grown to 2,500 and is still growing.

Sarah Smith studies business management. The straight-A student is a single mom. She thinks a lot of good students have to work harder here.

"They're forced to cram into little rooms that have limited availability," said Smith.

Misty Van Nice studies nursing in a trailer.

"We have a big pole in the  middle of the room that blocks our board," said Van Nice.

The new building would likely be built on the University of Montana's south campus. The golf course is there. It's been there for generations.

Many oppose building any structure there, especially long time golfers.

Michael Hoots isn't necessarily a golfer. But he lives in the neighborhood. He's a college graduate himself, and supports higher education. He has an open mind.

But NBC Montana talked with Hoots as he walked his dog on  a trail above the golf course. He likes this landscape.

"I'm a Montanan," said Hoots. "I kind of like things to stay the way they are. Every time I go back to Billings something has changed. So it's nice to have something classical."

But the University sees it as a place for planned growth.

"South campus is the location for where we see that growth for the next 50 years," said Peggy Kuhr, vice president of integrated communications at the University of Montana.

To read the full bill, click here.