The new Missoula College won't threaten the University of Montana South Campus Golf Course or surrounding area but it doesn't mean the site's in the clear for good.
When UM President Royce Engstrom announced the site on East Broadway would be home to the new Missoula College, some might have been at ease. But Engstrom said that site is still a spot for university projects in the long term.
“As we think about the future that's where we will look for the expansion of the campus,” Engstrom said.
And that's not new. The Montana University System Board of Regents approved the South Campus Master Plan for the site in 2007. It outlines campus expansion through 2057, everything from classrooms, to student housing, to athletic facilities.
“Regents did approve a south campus master plan for the long term expansion,” Engstrom said. “And that's what we will do in the long term.”
While it was approved six years ago, opponents are still hopeful the university and open space advocates can come to terms. Sally Peterson has been a part of the push to save the area since it started.
“I don't like to call it a fight,” Peterson said Monday. “But that's what comes to mind…I'd like to see a lot of dialogue.”
She has her own idea for the area and it incorporates education and open space.
“Students who have business aptitude and want to do a golf course consulting major or something like that,” Peterson said. “You're putting interdisciplinary fields together, it might be complex to plan but it would be something that the university could tout.”
Peterson is hopeful university officials will take another look at the plan. “I think a revisit is a good idea but this time with all the stake holders on board for conversation first.”
To read the South Campus Master Plan click here.