The University of Montana Western has been granted nearly $15 million by the Montana State Legislature to undertake major upgrades to the campus’s facilities. These include a $12 million renovation of Block Hall, $2.4 million to replace the central campus boiler, and $450,000 to replace numerous roofs.
“Please join me in thanking Senator Jeff Welborn and Representative Tom Welch for their support of this project,” said Montana Western Chancellor, Dr. Beth Weatherby. “Senator Welborn has been a tireless Bulldog this session in his efforts to get Block Hall done. I am so grateful to Jeff and Tom and to Commissioner Christian and his team for their advocacy in Helena for Montana Western. These funds will provide our students, faculty and staff with the top-quality facilities that they deserve.”
The news was announced on April 29th at the close of the 67th Legislative Session in Helena, known as “sine die,” wrapping up 80 days of legislative action. Sine die, meaning “without day” in Latin, indicates that the 2021 legislative body has adjourned without appointing a day to assemble again.
The Block Hall renovation will receive $4.8 million from HB 632, the vehicle which appropriates the federal stimulus and COVID recovery funds Montana is receiving as part of the American Rescue Plan Act and $7.2 million from HB 14, the Long-Range Building Bonding Program. HB 5, the Long-Range Building Appropriations bill, includes the funding Montana Western will receive for the central boiler and roof replacement projects.
Constructed in 1969, Block Hall requires renovation in order to accommodate the university’s growing science programs and bring the building up to modern safety and air quality codes. Upon completion, the building will offer updated classroom and lab facilities to all Montana Western students for courses in both general studies and specialized science programs.