Business Bites: Malmstrom facility completed; University of Providence enrollment up; NorthWestern Energy releases commemorative book; Paris Gibson Square opening new exhibit; LOVE hosting murder mystery fundraiser; coffee passport raising funds for Toby’s House and CASA CAN; Great Falls Clinic expanding surgery center; GFCMSU joining cybersecurity consortium

Missile maintenance facility completed

Malmstrom Air Force Base officials held a ribbon cutting for the now completed missile maintenance dispatch facility that will be used for storage for missile field components, space for repair and testing, and keep vehicles out of the weather to accommodate dispatch and recovery missions.

Construction on the $18.68 million facility began in July 2019 and the contract was awarded through the Army Corps of Engineers to a joint venture between WHH Nisqually and Garco.

Malmstrom breaks ground on missile maintenance facility, project funding no longer possible source for border wall

The new missile maintenance facility was built because the functions that would occupy that building are being displaced from their current location in the existing three-bay hangar. That hangar is being renovated to house the new MH-139 helicopters that are coming to replace the current UH-1N Huey fleet.

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The missile maintenance dispatch facility is 43,500 square feet of new construction.

University of Providence enrollment

The University of Providence said this week that its had an an overall increase in new student enrollment at the Great Falls campus despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

UP saw a 9 percent increase in the freshman class in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the fall semester, making it the largest freshman class since 2018, according to a UP release.

Graduate student enrollment numbers increased by 50 percent overall, according to the university.

UP’s School of Health Professions met new student enrollment expectations, and has seen students, known to UP as caregivers, return to school to further their education in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UP exceeded projected new student enrollment targets for the fall semester by 5 percent, according to the university.

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“COVID-19 threats include the possibilities of moving back to online instruction, mask requirements, social distancing, quarantine, isolation protocols and more. Colleges and universities all over the country had to get creative in finding ways to make the college experience as normal as possible, in a nearly impossible situation,” according to a release. “In addition to those threats, enrollment efforts had shifted, with fewer financial aid applications nationwide, delayed decisions, and the inability to recruit students using standard practices.”

Golden Kilowatts book: 130 years of hydroelectric power in Montana

NorthWestern Energy has released a commemorative book of 130 years of hydroelectric dams in Montana.

The book “Golden Kilowatts, Water Power and the Early Growth of Montana” is written by longtime Montana journalist Butch Larcombe, who retired in 2019 from NorthWestern Energy after seven years with corporate communications.

Black Eagle Dam was the first in 1891, two years after Montana achieved statehood.

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“‘Golden Kilowatts’ is a journey through the history of the Montana dams owned today and in the past by NorthWestern Energy and the Montana Power Co., from the first on the Missouri River at Black Eagle to later dams that fueled Butte mines and eventually copper smelting operations in Black Eagle and Anaconda. By 1915, the Montana Power Company was believed to be the largest single distributor of electric power in the U.S. Electricity was a boon to lumber mills, grain elevators, flour mills, street railways and other industrial and commercial operations,” according to a release. “Photos in the book document not only the construction of the dams, and amazing engineering feats, but also the communities established near the dam projects that included stores, schools and clinics that supported the workers. Many of the historical photos have not been published before.”

Proceeds from the sales of “Golden Kilowatts” will benefit Montana history organizations.

“Golden Kilowatts,” priced at $20, is available at:

  • Montana Historical Society, 225 North Roberts, Helena, 406-444-2694 (online here)
  • The History Museum, Cascade County Historical Society, 422 2nd S., Great Falls, 406-452-3462
  • Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, 17 W. Quartz, Butte, 406-782-3280.

Larcombe’s family published a weekly newspaper in Malta for more than 50 years. Larcombe has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for the Missoulian, Great Falls Tribune and Helena Independent Record. He also served as editor and general manager of Montana Magazine for six years and worked in corporate communication for NorthWestern Energy from 2012 to 2019.

Paris Gibson Square exhibit

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is opening a new exhibit Oct. 1.

Beyond Intention showcases the work of three contemporary fiber and mixed-media artists: Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Ashley V. Blalock and Jennifer Reifsneider.

The exhibition is comprised of work that features vintage archetypal characters sewn onto idyllic or dystopian scenes, an installation of brightly colored looming crocheted environments, and beautifully complex grid like patterns that tempt chance through order, according to the museum.

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Nicole Maria Evans, curator of exhibitions and collections, said “via the presentation of the artists’ work, Beyond Intention, aims to address the concept of intention as it relates to the practice of contemporary fiber art making in women’s lives, and the multivalent qualities of the materials in the face of their utilitarian origins,” according to a museum release.

“Works shown in four of the principal galleries of the museum, utilize established craft techniques like crochet, needlepoint, quilting, knot tying, and pattern making, but re-imagine their purpose and use by transforming those traditions into contemporary artwork that also moves beyond the practicality of product. The very act of making is an example of the complexity of intention, because often the repetitious or intense focus provides a sense of control, relief or even serves as catharsis. Thus, the intention of the work made becomes layered with complex meaning that is tactile, emotional, conceptual, and fluid. These traditional methods and materials like thread, yarn, and cloth become a conduit for discussion as it pertains to identity, social roles, and community constructs,” according to the museum.

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The exhibit opens with a reception and curator’s panel discussion with the artists at 6 p.m. Oct. 1. RSVP is required and more information is available here.

The museum is located at 1400 1st Ave. N.

Murder Mystery

LOVE is hosting its third murder mystery fundraiser on Oct. 16 at the VFW on 10th Avenue South.

Event proceeds help the local nonprofit organize events and pay for sports, hobbies and more for foster kids and at-risk youth in the community.

The main areas they supported last year were Rock n Chalk gymnastics for kids, Heisey Sports, Alliance for Youth event partnerships, Go N Grow summer program and more, according to Nikki Davalos, a LOVE organizer.

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“We help overcome the challenge of funds to do the funs,” she said.

The event will have a pizza contest and live music from the Melissa Lynn Band. The $50 ticket includes keg beer, food and door prizes.

LOVE, or Linking Our Voices Everyday, was founded in 2018 by two Great Falls foster moms with the goal of developing a support network for foster families in the community.

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Warm Hands Warm Hearts

A coffee passport is available for sale around town for $30 with deals at various local coffee shops.

Proceeds are being split between Toby’s House and CASA CAN.

Details are available here.

Great Falls Clinic expansion

The Great Falls Clinic is working on a $7 million expansion of its same-day, outpatient surgery center, which is located next to the clinic’s specialty center.

The existing surgery center is a one-story facility built in 1999 on a 1.63 acre site and officers same-day surgeries in a variety of specialties including, but not limited to, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, ENT, pain management, urology and podiatry. The original purpose of the facility was to host only outpatient surgeries requiring less than 24-hour recovery times. All other surgeries that require more than 24-hour recovery times were historically performed at the Great Falls Clinic Hospital, according to a GFC release.

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Currently, the surgery center is 12,636 square feet and has three operating rooms and two procedure rooms.

The expansion will add 7,375 square feet and include five new observation beds for overnight surgical stays, plus an additional operating room, as well as resizing and expanding two of the existing operating rooms and central processing to allow for different types of surgical cases.

This expansion plan is set to occur in two phase, the first of which will include the addition of five observations beds and a new operating room. Phase one’s scheduled completion is mid-March 2022. Phase two will consist of expanding the existing operating rooms and central processing. Phase two’s scheduled completion is mid-May 2022. The total facility footprint will sit at 20,011 square feet once completed.

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Construction won’t interrupt any existing patient care or scheduled surgeries, according to GFC.

“The expansion of the stand alone, outpatient surgery center has been on our minds for some time,” Wayne Gillis, CEO of the Great Falls Clinic Hospital.said in a release. “Since opening our new hospital in 2015, the facility has been bursting at the seams and we have been creative with re-arranging and scheduling surgeries to accommodate our patients. The expansion of the existing surgery center will free up more space and time at our hospital as we prepare for more complex cases and higher levels of acuity. This will also allow us to focus on expanding our surgery center, which we have not done since building the facility in 1999.”

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Great Falls College cybersecurity program joins consortium to help high school teachers

Great Falls College MSU and Missoula College have joined a consortium of 12 national centers for academic excellence in cybersecurity with City University of Seattle for the Cybersecurity High School Innovation program, funded by a $700,000 grant to help develop high school cybersecurity teachers.

Great Falls College and Missoula College in Montana are designated Centers of Academic Excellence, and Cheryl Simpson, a GFCMSU computer technology program instructor will be one of the mentors to 70 high school teachers from the region recruited to learn cybersecurity content and principles online in 2021.

A private-public partnership is planned to support this initiative. The project will engage local, regional and national companies, government agencies and military-related organizations to support a self-sustaining network to increase the number of high school graduates entering the cybersecurity career pathway, according to a GFCMSU release.

Simpson said in a release that there are 500 unfilled high-wage cybersecurity jobs in Montana and more than 500,000 across the United States that in many cases could be filled by remote workers.

The way it will work is the program will select an instructor or multiple instructors to teach the program, Simpson will get those folks up to speed, and students from across the state will be able to take the course, according to the GFCMSU release.

Enrollment opens Oct. 25 for the next 8-week cybersecurity course at GFCMSU.

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