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UM President Royce Engstrom tours Bitterroot high schools, college

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Feb 20 2014 06:57:37 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 20 2014 09:26:54 PM MST
University of Montana President Royce Engstrom tours Bitterroot high schools, college
HAMILTON, Mont. -

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom toured high schools in Ravalli County and The Bitterroot College of the University of Montana,  in Hamilton on Thursday.

There are 220 students at the two year college, which is in its fifth year of operation. At its location, on the outskirts of Hamilton's north side, the college has added more classroom space and a lab facility recently. But many students said they are outgrowing their space.

"Certainly before too long," said Engstrom, "we will need to have a serious discussion about what the facility needs to look like in the next 5 to 10-year period."

Engstrom talked to students in their classrooms.

"We are at the point where we are pushing the limits of this facility," he said. "This is going to be an ongoing process where the enrollment drives the size of the facility and the size of the facility creates more opportunities, driving more enrollment."

Engstrom said they have been engaged in discussions but are not quite ready to make a decision on that yet. Robert Williams and Nelson Carlos would like to see more classes and a bigger building, as well as more student involvement and involvement from the community.

Carlos said he'd like to see better connection with the main campus, to make the Bitterroot College students feel more a part of it, and not so separated.

The men suggested a shuttle service to get them to and from both campuses, so taking classes at both sites is more convenient. They would also like to see more convenient access to health care services that they pay for.

Engstrom said a shuttle service seems like it would be an affordable idea that could better serve students.