The long wait for funds to build a new Missoula College is almost over. The Montana Legislature approved a direct appropriation of $29 million dollars as part of the governor's jobs bill, and now awaits his signature.

Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRea said Wednesday, that a total of  $55.46 million dollars has been appropriated in HB 5 for various University system building projects.

"For Missoula College, an appropriation of $29 million dollars in state long-range building funds has been approved, with authority to raise an additional up to $3 million, for a total of $32 million dollars. For Missoula College, the citizens of Missoula and for the students, we do view that as good news, because the current facility has outgrown the student population," McRea said.

Governor Steve Bullock must now sign the measure, or, if he does not sign within 10 days, the bill will automatically become law.

"We are reading the signs from Governor Bullock as positive, because this project was originally included in his Jobs Bill. The governor had a long-range building program bill that included Missoula College. It would have been a bonding bill, but because the building funds are made possible through a state appropriation, it has seen strong support from the governor's office. We are anticipating that the measure will be approved by the governor and move forward," McRae said.

Governor Bullock's communications office said on Wednesday that HB 5 has not yet reached the governor's desk, but that it should arrive within the next few days.

The Missoula College website states "if approved, the state-of-the-art $32 million dollar facility would be the first building of UM's South Campus, located along Arthur and South Avenues and only a few blocks from the University's central mountain campus. Construction would begin in March, 2014, and completed by July, 2016."

Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRae