MISSOULA – The University of Montana will celebrate the grand opening of its new Missoula College Building at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22. Members of the public are invited to the festivities at 1205 E. Broadway.
Speakers will include Gov. Steve Bullock, Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian, UM President Sheila Stearns and MC Dean Shannon O’Brien.
The family of Salish Indian elder Louis Adams will provide a Native American blessing and honor song. Adams, who passed way in 2016, blessed the groundbreaking of the new building in August 2014.
Other special guests will include local members of Montana’s 63rd Legislature, who appropriated $29 million to fund the two-year college building in 2013. The Payne family, Blackfoot and other key donors also will be recognized.
Students from the college’s award-winning Culinary Arts Program will provide treats, and members of the public are welcome to tour the new multistory, 115,000-square-foot structure after the formal program.
“This building will ensure we are nimble and quick to respond to Montana’s workforce needs,” O’Brien said. “This beautiful new structure is an investment in the economy and the future prosperity of Montana.”
Located across the Clark Fork River from the central UM campus, the new building offers excellent views of the river, Mount Sentinel and Washington-Grizzly Stadium. UM officials have dubbed the area “the River Campus.”
MC, the University’s two-year educational unit, provides transfer, occupational and technical education in 35 program areas across five academic departments. Areas of study include business and health care professions, applied computing and electronics, and energy and industrial technologies.
The new building is home to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including three culinary arts kitchens, a cybersecurity center with two labs, a math learning center, a cadaver lab and a bolstered library with expanded resources.
Formerly called the College of the Technology, MC has been an integral part of UM since it became an academic unit of the University in 1994. The original college opened as a vocational education center in 1967 in a building designed to serve several hundred students. When enrollment swelled to 2,200 and classes overflowed into outlying trailers, the Legislature took action to fund the new structure.