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Aug 11, 2010 3:16 PM by Dan Boyce

New College of Technology sets up in Bozeman

BOZEMAN, MT - A new Bozeman based community college is setting up in new offices on MSU's campus this week.
Whether the Gallatin College Programs would ever exist was long uncertain, even as recent as six months ago. But there's a different attitude now.

Moving day can be stressful, the tearing down of an old life to start another. A stereo tried to settle nerves on Tuesday, playing classical music throughout the former offices of the MSU Great Falls College of Technology in Bozeman. Moving usually inspires some optimism, too. That how things felt in Culburtson Hall.

"It's excellent actually," said Gallatin College Administrative Assistant, Christine Armstrong, fresh from loading a coworkers SUV with the office plants. "The only thing is probably stealing tape, there's been way too many wars over tape and scissors," she quipped.

In March, the Montana Board of Regents allowed MSU's flagship campus to take over control of the college after about two years of rejecting the idea.

Regents had said they needed more evidence of the need for another two year institution in Montana. Once the idea was approved, Gallatin College Dean, Bob Hietela, said MSU Bozeman stepped right up.

"They offered additional space here in Hamilton Hall," he said, pointing over his shoulder to the building directly east of Montana Hall. Gallatin College Programs will take over the first two floors of the building, also used for ROTC classes.

Besides the new name and new digs, not a whole lot else is changing now. The staff, the equipment, and the classes remain the same. But Dean Heitela is focusing on the future.

"It's really the beginning of our expansion of two year programs here locally," he said. The College currently has four programs in Aviation, Design Drafting, Interior Design, and Welding Technology. He mentioned programs in healthcare, information technology, and the hospitality industry as possible additions. But, it's hard to think about adding more courses when your classrooms are still missing chairs. Perhaps to inspire urgency, Hietela brought the coffee Tuesday. "Just get it done as fast as possible," Armstrong said.

MSU is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Gallatin College Programs in September. Students taking classes at the Great Falls College of Technology in Bozeman last year will see an $18 increase in fees when attending the Gallatin College Programs this fall.

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