MISSOULA, Mont. -

Big news for the University of Montana, as university officials broke ground for a project years in the making -- the new site for the Missoula College.  It's on East Broadway along the Clark Fork River, next to the Montana Technology Enterprise Center.

It took eight years to get to this stage, the start of a new chapter for Missoula College faculty, staff and students.

"Nobody will be able to go by Missoula without seeing the Missoula College and without knowing that higher education is critical to the welfare and to the future of this city and this state," said University of Montana’s President Royce Engstrom.

The college will offer close to 35 programs, from health to business.

"This will just open the door for so many students to get a great education that puts them right into the workforce or prepares them to go on to further education," said Engstrom.

Engstrom told NBC Montana they chose the location because it's close to the main UM campus and to the downtown business community.

NBC Montana was told that it will be a two-year construction project and you'll most likely see the new Missoula College in spring of 2017.

The project costs a total of $32 million, with $29 million of that from the state and the rest from donations.

Gov. Steve Bullock told NBC Montana the project and the improved campus and increased classes will help the economy.

"This presents so many more opportunities for the students here, for the employers in our state, and it's been a long time coming," said Bullock.

For one former Missoula College student, it's a whole new beginning for future students.

"They do a really good job of embracing you and helping you find your path," said Sarah Smith.

It will be at least two years before students can come to school at the new location.

It's being built by the Jackson Contractor Group, the same one that will be building the new softball field for the University of Montana.

Engstrom tells NBC Montana they are going to see over 2,000 students attend classes at the new college location.