MISSOULA — The University of Montana is about to undergo one of its biggest changes in decades, investing more than $100 million in campus infrastructure in one of the biggest updates in recent memory as UM looks for an enrollment turnaround.
The biggest decision that young people make is where they go to college,” noted University of Montana Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz, who added enrollment at UM is continuing to move in the right direction. But according to Kuntz, one thing prospective students point out is the dated architecture, “a lot of these buildings have been around for over 100 years."
Kuntz says student surveys show they want to see updates on the Missoula campus, "this is their home for four and five years, so we want to make sure our residence halls are up to date, our dining halls are places people want to hang out, eat and feel welcome,” Kuntz said. “So we're making these investments to ensure that that's the case."
More than $100 million of investments are being planned. "The money's coming from a combination of bonds that the university is issued, as well as some private money that we're raising,” Kuntz explained.
"You'll see here at the Ryman Walk we'll redo all the brickwork, we'll have a new dining facility that'll help greet students and give some of our aging dorms the face lift they need,” Kuntz said. “We have the dining hall, we're gonna update Knowles Residence Hall, we're going to build a new museum of art and culture here on campus, so it's going to be a really exciting time."
UM will start with updates on the west side of campus with the groundbreaking for some projects set for this fall with Kuntz saying he's excited to see the outcome -- and hopes future students will be too. "I think when the class of 2025 walks across the stage here in a few years it's going to be a new really fresh look here on campus."