In the midst of all the new construction happening at Montana State University, Gov. Steve Bullock toured the Romney Gym to meet with students and campus officials about the old building's future. However, the state still has to vote on whether or not they will release the funds to the university. The price tag? $28 million.
However, MSU's president, Waded Cruzado, does not see a monetary price, but the price students pay for a sub par experience in Romney.
"[It] weighs heavily on my heart," she said. "What we cannot do is look the other way and allow this building to rot. That is not how we do things in Montana."
So what exactly would a remodeled Romney be used for? According to campus officials, Romney is at the center of the campus's main thoroughfares: the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center, the Strand Union Building, and Gaines Hall. However, the building is used primarily for storage and a handful of classes, and, where the old pool sits, three stories of completely wasted space. The new Romney would provide new space for an improved veterans' center, a writing center, appropriate classroom accommodations, and other tutoring facilities.
The students were allowed to air their concerns about the current state of Romney.
Kelsey Weyerbacher, a writing center tutor and student at MSU, understands the need for more space.
"There is only so many tutors you can pack into a space," she said. However, it is truly clear who is really losing out to Kelsey. "Last semester we were booked out two weeks in advance, and we were turning away dozens of students every day."
Other students agreed with Kelsey's concerns. Throughout the conversation, students let their voices be heard, and they want a remodeled Romney.
After giving the students and campus officials plenty of time to state their cases, Bullock let everyone know he was on their side, and he has high hopes for the future of Romney.
"I look at Romney being redone [as] the opportunity just to build off what is really the national model," he said. Romney presents a unique opportunity to blend multiple student services. Bullock said he sees this opportunity as "an investment in every vet that follows, or every student that comes and says, 'Well, if only I could get a little bit more tutoring and help along the way, I'd be there.'"
The future of Romney will soon be revealed, but MSU campus officials, students, and Bullock believe Montana needs to invest in the future now.