I’m sure many of you have driven down College Ave and seen the entrance to the Advanced Technology Park at College and 23rd Street and wondered what goes on there.

Photo by Tom Egelhoff
Photo by Tom Egelhoff

One of the buildings in this area is the incubator home to some startup businesses. They are provided with low cost office space and labs to gain a foothold until they can leave the startup phase and survive on their own.

You probably didn’t know this area had anything to do with Montana State University. Actually, the Montana State Alumni Foundation owns the property.

Before I retired, I did business with some of these Technology Park startups and have seen some start at the incubator level and evolve into full-blown, self-sustaining businesses that provide jobs and income to both Bozeman and Montana.

MSU Is Growing

MSU has grown to the point they need more executive offices to administer the higher tuition rates or off the charts expensive books for students who need the $1 trillion in student loans that the federal government currently has on the books.

What easier way to make this happen than to evict these future employers?

To kick these people to the curb flies in the face of all that higher education stands for.

Is MSU Out Of Money?

I see no shortage of construction on the MSU campus. I realize that much of that is the result of grants and government programs.

I know from personal experience there is little if any grants or low interest loans for startups. Every dollar is critical to these economic baby chicks.

I also know that the MSU Alumni Foundation can rub two nickels together when they need to.

Is This An Oxymoron?

The purpose of a university is to educate those who eventually go out and contribute to society with knowledge and skills.

The Alumni Foundation raises money for the university to continue that endeavor.

Does it make sense to displace the very groups that the university is designed to help?

It should also be pointed out that some of these startups are bio-science disciplines and they can’t just set up in a vacant space somewhere.

Some Final Thoughts

Does MSU or the Alumni Foundation come before students or is it the other way around? When MSU needs housing it builds it.

Can the university do more with less? The city and county are expected to do that. Most businesses are expected to do that.

Students have been fleeing Montana for years because of the lack of opportunity locally. Why open another expressway for them to vacate our state?

There must be a solution where everyone goes home happy. Let’s all sit down and make this work for our community.

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