University of Montana officials faced an angry crowd Wednesday as they revealed plans for a new building for the university’s Missoula College.
The 47-million-dollar building would help Missoula College, formerly known as the UM College of Technology, keep up with rising enrollment, which has tripled in the last ten years.
The university plans to build the new building on land the university golf course currently occupies, and many people attended the open house to express their opposition to the building.
"The main argument is, this is a community asset that’s highly valued,” said Missoula resident Cindy Reimers. "The community knows, the old timers here all remember, that this used to be the Missoula Country Club and that this property was supposed to be used for athletics."
Reimers is involved in a group that’s opposes the loss of the golf course.
"I'm all in favor of building a nice, new consolidated community college campus, but I believe that it should go on the 50 acres that are out west of Fort Missoula."
UM President Royce Engstrom said the university views the golf course as the ideal sight to locate the 2-year college.
"The fact is that the university owns this land and owns it for the purpose of expanding the University in the future,” said Engstrom. “It is a piece of land that allows us to do that again in a thoughtful way."
Missoula College student Michael Higgins said he attended the open house to support the new building.
"Missoula College has been a gift. They've helped me out a lot, and given me the opportunity to learn. I'm here to support expansion and a new building where we can actually learn and have the tools to do so, said Higgins."
Before construction can start, the building needs funding.
Engstrom said school officials plan to lobby legislators in Helena, but they won’t be the only ones there.
"We will be going to the legislature to fight this,” said Reimers. “We will camp out there so that they don't get funding for this location."