By Martin J. Kidston
Montana State University-Northern has received $50,000 from the Legislature to plan and explore the feasibility of an advanced technological center at the Havre campus, the schools chancellor said Tuesday.
MSU-Northern Chancellor Mike Rao said the money was made available to the school at the end of the last legislative session by the appropriations committee. The money will be used under the discretion of the State Department of Architecture and Engineering during the exploration phase of the project.
The money is for exploring the possibility of building an advanced technology center at MSU-Northern, Rao said. The center may ultimately be scoped so that it completes the existing buildings on campus that serve our mechanical and technical disciplines.
The schools technology programs, such as auto, agriculture, diesel and metal, would benefit from the new center. Rao said if the planning and exploration stage of the study results in the creation of functional plans, the school would submit those plans for construction.
I would envision that this project would include renovations to the Davey Pioneer Laboratory, Rao said. Our scope will be focused on how this will help make the campus more functional and energy efficient.
Rao said he will listen carefully to the opinions of those closest to the project, such as the faculty, staff and administrators who will use the improved facilities. He also said the school is hoping to pick up a partner who might contribute to the costs of construction.
The Legislature seems to favor projects that have partnership dollars, Rao said. And I continue to be hopeful that GE could be a partner, along with a number of other foundations that tend to be generous with donations for bricks and motor.
Rao said that Kresge, the founding company of Kmart, has donated to similar foundations, along with Du Pont and other companies.
Well be exploring possibilities with each of these foundations, Rao said. There are no commitments yet, but we are hopeful.