Montana Tech is known as one of the best academic establishments in the state. But the university affects Butte in ways that have little to do with textbooks.
With almost 600 employees, Tech is one of Butte’s largest employers. Almost 3,000 students take classes, many of whom relocate to Butte.
All that culminates in an almost $100 million economic impact, according to a study Tech released last year. But what’s most intriguing is the figure’s growth potential.
“You have to have dollars coming in from someplace else,” said Chancellor Don Blackketter. When students come to Montana Tech from other towns and other states, their dollars function similar to tourist money – an influx of cash.
If Tech has more students, more of those outside dollars will come to town, helping drive local businesses. But students’ effect goes beyond just a cash infusion.
“Growth comes from having a crane on your campus,” said Joe McClafferty, a vice chancellor at Tech.
Each student added to campus provides an economic boost, and if enough students are added, a school needs to expand its infrastructure – more classes, more professors, and more buildings.
“That’s where you see those step marks,” Blackketter said.
Tech administrators recently announced that they hope to start construction on a $10 million academic building in April to meet growing demands for laboratory space.
Building projects help drive local construction and added jobs at Tech often provide good wages. Tech’s added almost 100 staff members since 2009.