By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The official construction of the first state-funded building at Montana State University-Northern since 1979 started today, with the ground-breaking for the university's Applied Technology Center.
Northern College of Technical Sciences Greg Kegel said the center will help Northern better help businesses looking for people with technological, research and management skills.
"This building's going to raise the bar on that," he said. "We're helping industry solve problems that they have and this building helps address that. It's the teaching technology we've never had before."
The building will split College Road into two cul-de-sacs, and will be bordered by Brockman Center to the north and the Farm Mechanics Building to the west. Havre contractor Clausen and Sons was awarded the contract.
The center was redesigned after the 2001 Legislature cut the university's request for $4.125 million from the state with up to $8 million raised by the university. The Legislature approved $2 million contingent on the university raising another $2 million.
The university wanted to build a multidisciplinary technology center, "and that's exactly what it is," Kegel said. "We didn't compromise any of that. The building got smaller, and that's about all."
The university received $1 million of the $2 million it needed to raise from the federal Economic Development Administration. The rest it raised through donations by individuals and businesses.
Tom Reynolds, executive director of the Montana State University-Northern Foundation, said there were 378 people from California to Delaware as well as local people who contributed $750,000.
Businesses made up the rest, including many from the Havre area, he said.
"That Havre spirit is what makes it all happen," Reynolds added.