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No decision on Missoula College, Mayor pushes for Fox Theater site

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Sep 20 2013 05:55:12 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Another round of people sounded off on where to build the new Missoula College at a public forum Friday.  

There’s still no word on when University of Montana President Royce Engstrom will make a decision but he told those in attendance the comments from the two forums this week will help him decide.

For the university it’s down to just two options at this point; the controversial UM Golf Course on the south end of town or a new spot on East Broadway.

UM’s Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr said a third option, proposed by Missoula Mayor John Engen late last month, isn’t an option at this point.

“President Engstrom has taken very seriously the proposal that Mayor Engen has put out there on the Fox Site (former Fox Theater),” Kuhr said Friday. “At this point it is off the table.”

But Missoula Mayor John Engen isn’t quite ready to give up.

“I don't want to be in a position of second guessing anyone but the fact is if there are alternatives to be considered I still think that the Riverfront Triangle is a viable alternative,” he said.

The Montana Legislature gave UM $29 million for the project so it has to be a careful decision and for Mayor Engen thinks the Riverfront Triangle on Orange and Front Streets works well for UM and the city.

“If we build the college in a redevelopment district the city, we, can be of tremendous assistance.”

For President Engstrom at this point it’s narrowed down to just the two options of the UM Golf Course, or East Broadway. Though he'll be the first to tell you he hasn't made a decision.

“Is my mind already made up? It is not,” Engstrom said at Friday’s forum.

That's why Mayor Engen said although he's not the one to make the final call; he'll continue to talk with President Engstrom.

“Ultimately it is his decision to make,” Engen said. “I trust that he's open and interested in finding the best solution and if there's a way to get there and we can still talk about it, love to do that.”

Kuhr said there is no timeline for President Engstrom to make a final decision but she said he’ll likely make up his mind in the next few weeks.