Incubator plan will
In an effort to jump-start Montana's flagging economy and help infuse the region with entrepreneurial spirit, plans were unveiled this summer to build a business and technology incubator on UM land.
Called the Montana Technology Enterprise Center, the facility would foster economic development by giving fledgling businesses a home especially companies hatched by UM research. The incubator would help businesses until they were ready to move off on their own.
The first phase of the incubator would be a 15,000-square-foot building costing about $2 million. The center would be constructed on a lot located across the Clark Fork River from UM's Physical Plant.
Plans for the incubator were announced by UM President George Dennison and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus in July. At Baucus' invitation, campus meetings announcing the economic development effort were attended by Phil Singerman, assistant secretary for economic development and chief of the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Singerman's agency has been asked to fund $1.5 million of the project, with the rest of the money raised from other sources. If fund raising for the incubator progresses rapidly, construction of the new building could begin as early as next spring.
Dennison says the incubator would combat Montana's declining wages by generating diverse new industries. He says UM would donate land for the incubator valued at about $1.3 million and bring the University's technical capabilities to bear to outfit the building and assist its tenant businesses.
The design of the center itself will be based on successful designs from around the country," Dennison says.
The incubator would include offices, conference rooms, storage rooms and eight labs. Designers have plans to add two expansions each worth roughly $1 million which eventually would provide space in the incubator for 40 individual businesses.
Planners say the center would result in a partnership among UM, the UM Foundation and the Missoula Economic Development Corp.
UM Hosts National
Next year's National Conference on Undergraduate Research will take place at The University of Montana, making UM the first western university to host the annual event since its inception in 1987.
NCUR 2000 will take over campus classrooms Thursday and Friday, April 27-28, bringing together undergraduates, faculty members and administrators for presentations and discussions of creative and scholarly work by undergraduates across the land. Roughly 2,000 participants are expected to come from more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities.
The schedule will include 15-minute oral presentations, interdisciplinary poster sessions and performing or visual arts presentations in music, dance, theater, drawing, photography, video and more. Guest speakers will be atmospheric scientist George H. Mount of Washington State University's Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, prize-winning Native American painter and printmaker Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and UM Professor Jack Ward Thomas, former chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
Five optional excursions are planned for Saturday, April 29, and include a Lewis and Clark heritage tour, an arts-in-Missoula tour and a tour of the famous Smokejumper Visitor Center. Spearheading the conference are Continuing Education Dean Sharon Alexander and chemistry Professor Garon Smith.
For complete information on the conference, visit the Web site: http://www.umt.edu/NCUR2000.