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$6 million proposed in house bill for renovation of Montana Western’s Main Hall

March 17, 2009

main hallThe University of Montana Western’s Main Hall renovation project would receive $6 million over two years based on a bill proposed by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and sponsored by House Appropriations Chair Jon Sesso. House Bill 645 (HB 645), currently before the House Appropriation Committee, would provide federal stimulus funding for Montana Western’s oldest and largest classroom and public use building.

Montana Western Chancellor Richard Storey said the renovation has become critical because of the historic 113-year-old building’s age and the resulting wear and tear from university and community use.

“Main Hall is indeed a treasure for our campus and the southwest Montana community,” Storey said. “Not only is it a landmark on campus, but it serves as a hub of community cultural activity and learning.”

Storey estimated there are about 60 public events held in the building each year. In addition, the renovation will improve Main Hall’s energy efficiency, meet requirements of today’s educational classrooms, stabilize the structure and stimulate the southwest Montana economy, Storey said.

Listed on the National Historic Register, Main Hall also serves as home to the university’s Art Gallery & Museum, drama facilities and art studios in addition to numerous classrooms, offices and public meeting rooms.

“The monies provided by the bill coupled with other public and private funds will significantly move the renovation process along and help Main Hall remain a centerpiece of academia, art and culture in southwest Montana,” Storey added. “The value of this building and project to the community makes it special.”