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Question: Why wasn’t Missoula College in the South Campus Master Plan?

Short Answer: The South Campus Master Plan showed zones for future use. It was created to identify how the property should be developed and for what purposes. Missoula College is the first building identified for development on this property.

Long Answer: The purpose of the plan wasn’t to identify specific buildings to be located there. The South Campus Master Plan identified how the South Campus property should be developed and for what purposes. No specific buildings were identified in this plan, as this was intended to be a master plan for development that showed zones for future use: academic buildings, green space, parking, housing. Square footage of existing mountain campus buildings were used solely as samples for spatial consideration in plan development.

The South Campus Master Plan’s Goal:
  • To develop a framework of guiding principles and recommendations
  • To establish the foundation for future planning and design

As part of this plan, UM contracted for an Environmental Assessment and a Cultural Assessment, both conducted by outside experts. The Environmental Assessment considered and dismissed the alternative of building at Fort Missoula:

  • “Develop UM-owned lands at Fort Missoula –
  • Fort Missoula is located too far for UM to provide efficient public transportation or for students to travel on their own from existing housing and academic facilities at the Mountain Campus; therefore, it does not integrate the campuses.
  • Secondly, the UM-owned lands at Fort Missoula could not accommodate the configuration of student housing and academic buildings to meet the needs of UM.
  • Last, a significant amount of the UM-owned lands at Fort Missoula are in the flood plain and therefore cannot be developed.

  • Therefore, this alternative was dismissed.”
The South Campus Master Plan was developed between 2005 and 2007. This is the plan that received 18 months of scrutiny, with more than 30 meetings – all of them open to the public.

Question: What happened to the Futures Park Campus Master Plan?

Short Answer: The plan was research-driven and was deemed financially infeasible. It was never accepted or approved as an official master plan for the University.

Long Answer: This plan never was and isn’t today an official plan; it was never accepted or approved by the administration as an official university master plan, nor was it presented to the Board of Regents for approval.

The Futures Park plan was a research-driven project that was determined to be practically and financially unrealistic for the university to pursue.

The heart of this research project was that the Futures Park would become the “cornerstone of the hydrogen revolution,” and a living laboratory for two-year energy-related programs. The project was a vision based on a set of assumptions at the time:

  • That hydrogen was the alternative fuel for the future, and there would be a large-scale hydrogen project located at the Fort.
  • That the technology was available and it was financially feasible to have a hydrogen-powered campus.

The Futures Park vision included many ideas, including developing a hydrogen-powered monorail system connecting the Mountain Campus and Fort Missoula. Several projects are a result of Futures Park research. They include installation of the energy learning site in Hellgate canyon consisting of a 10 kilowatt wind turbine, 2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array, a hydrogen vehicle filling station, hydrogen fuel cell and two hydrogen vehicles, hydrogen safety training, and a hydrogen futures website for K-12.

Ultimately, the idea of developing a Futures Park at Fort Missoula was not approved by UM administration as financially feasible over the long-term. The Futures Park never became part of an official university master plan.

Question: What about the Fort Missoula Master Plan? Why not site the entire Missoula College campus at Fort Missoula?

Short Answer: Avoidance of the flood plain, the Fort Missoula Historic Dump, the Fort Missoula Historic District, and prehistoric archeological findings, mean the Fort Missoula site is not feasible for the siting of the full Missoula College campus.

Long Answer: The Fort Missoula site is an unfeasible location for the full Missoula College campus due to the following site challenges:

1. There is not enough buildable, University-owned land at Fort Missoula, because of the following combination of site factors:

a. Flood plain issues reduce the University's buildable area.

b. The old Fort Missoula dump/landfill has been deemed a historically significant part of Fort Missoula Historic District, (National Register of Historic Places).  This protected site occupies a portion of the University’s Fort Missoula property.

c. Artifacts were found at the old dump site during the archaeological survey of the property. These sensitive archeological issues further constrain building opportunities at this location.

d. The Fort Missoula Historic District (NRHP) was recently expanded to include the University of Montana property immediately west of the Fort. While inclusion in the historic district does not specifically eliminate development of the property, it does impose strict design requirements and process on any proposed development.

2. A Fort Missoula site for the full Missoula College campus presents significant issues regarding a new sewer system for the facility. The Fort Missoula site would have to be served by new sewer service connection to the city system. This new extension would run the length of South Avenue and would add considerably to the cost of the project.  In addition to the cost, a Missoula College building project would likely encounter resistance from homeowners in the Target Range District because once that main line was in place, additional higher density development could occur in the neighborhood. The Target Range neighborhood has long been opposed to extension of the sewer on South Avenue due to this issue.

3. The open space, traffic, and parking issues that are a concern for the university neighborhood are equally important to the Target Range neighborhood. We anticipate a similar response from the neighbors at any location chosen for the construction of the Missoula College.

UM spent considerable time and expense developing a cultural resources mitigation plan for the West Campus and avoidance of these areas is the final recommendation.

The South Campus property, by contrast, poses no historic or archeological challenges and fewer infrastructure and transportation costs.  Additionally, there would be no need to purchase additional acreage.

Question: How many people are currently employed in jobs located at UM Golf Course?

Short Answer: The combined hours worked by people on the Golf Course equates to 5.8 full-time employees.

Long Answer: The number of people employed at the University Golf Course includes:

  • 2 Full-time / Permanent employees
  • 4 Temporary employees
  • 22 Students who have part-time jobs

Building Missoula College and the South Campus will translate into additional jobs for students and other employees.

Question: Who plays golf at the University Golf Course?

  • 77% of golfers are from the public sector.
  • 23% of University Golf Course users are UM students.

In 2012, the University Golf Course had the lowest number of total golf rounds, 20,376, played at its course, compared with the 4 other popular golf courses located in Missoula.


The Build Missoula College Work Group has issued answers in response to the Neighborhood Council Questions asked of President Engstrom and the University, and formed the basis of discussion at a November 2012 meeting.

Neighborhood Council Questions
November 2012 - January 2013 • By BUILD MISSOULA COLLEGE WORK GROUP


Build Missoula College: Just the Facts

Questions addressed with quick fact-based answers and detailed explainations.  Review it.

Build Missoula College: Press and Communications

In the News: Press Archive.  Open it.

Build Missoula College: Project Components

A numerical breakdown examining the designated facility spaces and the total square feet assigned to Missoula College.  Review it

Floorplans for Missoula College

The floorplan schematics for the Missoula College facility which provide a unique glimpse into the design of the building.  Review it

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