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Architects Complete Study of Proposed Missoula College Site

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MISSOULA -

Architects have completed a feasibility study of a new potential location for the The University of Montana's Missoula College.

Now, it's up to UM officials to decide whether or not to pursue the new location, and compare it with the already proposed south campus location that would replace UM's popular golf course.

UM Vice President for Administration and Finance Michael Reid said an architectural firm in Bozeman completed the feasibility study this week.

"So, we just really wanted to get a quick look of is that even a viable option to look at -- just some preliminary due diligence," Reid said.

Reid said architects determined the site just off East Broadway -- immediately east of UM's Montana Technology Enterprise Center -- is large enough to house the Missoula College building.

UM officials said the seven-acre parcel of land already has adequate parking spaces and is also already serviced by existing bus routes.

Reid said architects also examined the site's location in the Clark Fork River's flood plain and any potential zoning issues. He said they also determined the East Broadway location can be connected to water, sewer and power.

"This is the best alternative for us as it stands right now, but that doesn't mean that we're letting up our guard," said Chairperson for Advocates for Missoula's Future Louie Schneller.

Schneller said the possibility of the East Broadway location has encouraged those who are defending UM's golf course -- which would disappear if the South Campus location was chosen as the new site.

"We have people come out with their dogs to take them for a walk, people hike out here, people actually, I've seen people do little picnics out here -- you don't find that on any other golf course," Schneller said.

Reid said UM President Royce Engstrom and the state commissioner of higher education still need to review the feasibility study. If they decide to pursue the East Broadway site, he said they'll ask for public input before making decision.

"But, we know that the population, and the money is what calls the shots here," Schneller said.

Reid said this year, the state appropriated $29 million for the construction of the Missoula College.

"We're aware of what's in the study, and it doesn't appear that there's anything that would be precluding us from putting the campus there if we wanted to continue down that direction," said Reid.

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