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The original item was published from 9/11/2014 9:18:15 AM to 9/26/2014 12:05:00 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: September 11, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Report: Highland College should move Uptown

Highlands College has taken a starring role in a new city marketing report, and Montana Tech’s chancellor agrees the school could play a role in growing Butte.

But Chancellor Don Blackketter says Tech first needs to do what’s best for Tech – growing enrollment, in part by locating Highlands closer to the north campus – and that in turn can help the city's economic development goals.

Angelos Angelou, who presented the report’s findings Tuesday, focused on bridging the corridor between Montana Tech and the retail-based east side of Uptown “at all costs” to attract further development.

“You can’t move Uptown closer to the university but you can move future development closer to each other,” he said. “You can use future development like the Highlands College.”

Highlands, a two-year college under the Montana Tech umbrella, is near Butte's industrial park on the south end of town.

All options for potential locations are on the table, said Blackketter, who focused less on how a new home for Highlands College would immediately impact the economy. Blackketter and Angleou agreed that students aren't a retail base.

“Retail has to be in business 100 percent of the time and not in business for eight months out of the year,” Angelou said.

But if a new location for Highlands helps grow enrollment at Montana Tech, Blackketter said that would bring more consumers to town, create more jobs, and require further educational facilities – a win for the school, county and businesses.

Montana Tech first unveiled its desire to connect the two campuses, now a 20 minute drive apart, in October. While there are fewer than 200 students who take classes on both campuses, Blackketter said some students have likely been deterred from enrolling in classes that would require a commute.

Part of finding a new home for Highlands is determining if there are any existing facilities that could accommodate the school.

“You have this beautiful infrastructure Uptown,” Angelou said. “I guess the question I have to ask is why not?”

Using that infrastructure would attract other new development, he said.

Blackketter agrees.

“That’s sort of the concept of historical renovation,” he said, adding that if empty buildings Uptown are filled, it also makes Butte a more attractive location for potential students.

Read the full story in the Montana Standard
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