MISSOULA, Mont. -

The following press release was sent out by Blackfoot Communications.

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group today announced a pledge of $500,000 to help fund construction and provide cutting-edge technology to the new Missoula College campus. The pledge is the largest-ever private donation to Missoula College, and significantly helps address the $3 million match requirement set by the Montana legislature in 2013.

“The future health and prosperity of Montanans depend on access to high quality, cost-effective education and technology,” said Bill Squires, CEO of Blackfoot. “We are proud to support the expansion of higher education in Montana through this donation to Missoula College.”

The cash and in-kind gift will help broaden opportunities and enrich educational resources for students at the new Missoula College campus, slated to open in mid-2017 at 1205 E. Broadway in Missoula. A groundbreaking ceremony for the campus was held today.

“Given the increasing importance of communications technologies, including broadband in virtually every professional field, it is fitting that Blackfoot Telecommunications is leading the private-sector charge to give our outstanding two-year college a new home,” said Royce Engstrom, president of the University of Montana. “On behalf of our students and faculty, I thank Blackfoot for its support of Missoula College.”

Blackfoot, which this year celebrated 60 years as a regional leader serving the technology and business needs of customers in Montana and Idaho, is the first technology company to pledge support for construction of the new Missoula College facility.

“This gift to the students and future professionals of Montana would not be possible without the commitment of our loyal customers and dedicated employees,” said Squires.

When completed, the new Missoula College building will house four Academic Departments: Applied Arts and Sciences; Applied Computing and Electronics; Business Technology, which includes the Culinary Program; and Health Professions.

The donation is just the latest in a long-term commitment from Blackfoot to support education, economic development and job creation in the Montana and Idaho communities it serves. In 2012, a gift from Blackfoot established the Mandeville Endowed Professorship in Accounting at Carroll College in Helena. Each year, the Blackfoot Scholarship Fund provides tens of thousands of dollars in individual scholarships to outstanding high school students and post-secondary students. Other programs supported by Blackfoot include the Easy Access Internet Program, the Math Counts Program, the Nkwusm Salish Language Program, the Close Up Program and others.