September 21-23, 2005

 

ITEM 128-2804-R0905††††††††††††††† Application to Acquire the Former BLM Lewistown Field Office at Public Benefit Allowance Discount for Educational Purpose through the U.S. Department of Education; Montana State University-Northern

 

THAT:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Pursuant to Montana Board of Regents Policy 1003.6.V, the Board of Regents of the Montana University System authorizes Montana State University - Northern to accept the conveyance of surplus federal real property for educational purposes.† Property is defined as:

 

BLM Lewistown Field Office, 80 Airport Road, Lewistown, Fergus County, Montana.† The property consists of a 15,232 square foot office building, a 6,000 square foot warehouse, vehicle parking shed, garage, and storage shed situated on 3.6562 acres of land.

 

Instructional programs are usually eligible for a full 100%

discount on the acquisition price on the property.

 

EXPLANATION:††††††††††††††††††††††† In 1995, MSUN began a formal partnership with Educational Opportunities for Central Montana, Inc. (EOCM) to provide post secondary educational opportunities to people in and around Lewistown, Montana.† Methods of instructional delivery include local faculty, visiting professors and adjunct, as well as distance learning via interactive video conferencing and computer-assisted coursework.

 

EOCM was formed in 1985 to provide college courses and professional training to people in the region.† The purpose of EOCM is to offer a rural educational outreach program to provide accessible quality training, higher education, and life-long learning opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and groups within a six county area.†

 

Through MSUNís partnership with EOCM, current MSUN coursework available in Lewistown includes; general education core requirements, a transferable Associate of Arts degree, an associates or bachelors degree in Nursing and course work leading to a bachelors or masters degree in Education.† In 1997, due to community and state demand, MSUN created, in partnership with both EOCM and the Central Montana Medical Center, the nursing program in Lewistown - which to date has graduated over 116 Registered Nurses.†

 

The acquisition of this property would allow MSUN to consolidate all course offerings into one location, improve classroom and lab space and establish a defined presence in the community.† Currently our classes are being offered in various locations in Lewistown.† The local high school has been accommodating in allowing us to use their classrooms Ė but only after normal school hours which limit class offerings to evenings and weekends.† The local hospital has allowed use of space in the basement of one wing of the hospital.† While use of this space has been appreciated, it has very limited functionality for the capacity-enrolled nursing program.† The additional space would enhance services to students as all staff and faculty would be located together and additional student meeting and study areas would be available.

 

The space provided by the BLM building will also allow MSUN to explore new instructional programs which cannot be provided with existing facilities.† For example, possibilities include converting the warehouse into a vocational classroom to provide agricultural science and other career and technical workshops or courses.

 

With an anticipated 100% discount on the acquisition cost, funding would still be needed for renovations and ongoing operations and maintenance costs.† To date, EOCM has raised $1,131,400. This is comprised of a federal grant from HUD for $498,900 and $632,500 in pledges from individuals and businesses.† The EOCM Board of Directors has approved these funds to be used for the renovation of the BLM property if MSUN is successful in its application and authorization for conveyance of the property.† This amount would provide the necessary funding to renovate the property to serve the needs of our current programs.† Ongoing operations and maintenance expenses would be substantially funded by the creation of an additional mandatory Lewistown Building Fee (see ITEM 128-2805-R0905).

 

ATTACHMENTS:†††††††††††††††††††††† 1)††††† July 20, 2005, application cover letter from Barbara Shawyer, Federal Real Property Assistance Program, U.S. Department of Education.

 

2)††††† MSUNís Application for Public Benefit Allowance Acquisition of Surplus Federal Real Property for Educational Purpose. Exhibits 1-5 excluded (are available upon request).

 

3)††††† Exhibit 6, Environmental Analysis on BLM property.

 

4)††††† General information regarding terms and conditions imposed upon the conveyance of surplus federal real property.

 

5)††††† Resolution required if acceptance of conveyance is approved.