A crowd of roughly 200 people crammed into the entryway of Missoula College Friday afternoon to celebrate the opening of the two-year college’s new building.
The family of Salish elder Louis Adams, who passed away last year, gave a blessing and performed an honor song for the opening.
Governor Steve Bullock was among the speakers and guests at the opening. He called it a celebration and an investment in Montana’s future.
At a time when the state is facing severe budget cuts, Bullock spoke of how quickly this educational facility was able to become a reality. Bullock said “and now you look three years later at state of the art classrooms, but also thousands of students walking through these doors, pursuing opportunities that for some may have not have ever even been imaginable.”
The new 115,000 square foot structure is located on the Clark Fork River opposite the central UM campus. It includes new culinary kitchens, a cybersecurity center, a cadaver lab and expansive library.
The building was partially funded by the allocation of 29 million taxpayer dollars in 2013 after enrollment in the community college’s programs skyrocketed to 2,200, more than double the old building’s capacity.