As fall approaches and the University of Montana prepares for the new school year, Grizzly football fans are all wondering if there will be room for parking and tailgating at home football games.

KGVO News spoke to Dave Kuntz, Director of Strategic Communications at UM who began the conversation by touting all the new construction on campus over the summer.

“The biggest thing for anyone who's visited our campus, because it's really impossible to miss,” began Kuntz. “It’s all the infrastructure renewal that's underway. We have about five major construction projects that are in different lifecycles. Some of them have just started, some of them are halfway done, and some of them are about to come to fruition. We’re talking about things such as refurbished residence halls, the new dining hall, a new museum of art and culture, and a new heat and power plant where we can start generating our own electricity for the university.”

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Kuntz said the University is doing everything in its power to bring these projects to completion so that driving and parking will face as little disruption as possible.

“While there's certainly going to be some short-term disruptions, some parking lots are going to remain partially closed to start the school year,” he said. “Ultimately, it's going to lead to more than $100 million worth of student-facing infrastructure that the university is building out. Because of that, we have strong plans in place to make sure that students and fans attending on-campus events such as football games will face next to no disruption. It's going to be impossible to miss and it's something that's going to really remake the feel of this campus for generations to come.”

Kuntz then focused the conversation on tailgating for UM football games.

“Over the course of the summer, what we call parking lot ‘P’ which is the big parking lot there next to the Adams Center was closed as a result of the museum construction. But beginning next week on August 22, about 80% of that parking lot is going to be back open again, so largely tailgating will be unaffected by the construction that's ongoing with campus right now.”

Kuntz said those tailgaters whose spots are unavailable have already been provided with alternate spaces.

“There'll be probably less than 100 tailgate spots that will be impacted by that ongoing construction,” he said. “Those folks have already been notified and have been moved this year to a different spot, and so if you haven't been contacted by the Grizzly Scholarship Association or any other university entity, there's nothing to worry about in your traditional tailgate spot. It's going to be unaffected for the school year.”

Kuntz said the annual maroon out campaign to blanket the Missoula community with maroon UM flags and banners is also underway. Drop by the GSA office inside the Adams Center to pick up a Griz Kit for your business.

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