Romney Hall, centrally located on MSU’s campus, has long held the reputation of being the school’s original gymnasium. Recently undergoing $32 million worth of renovations, the 97-year-old building will be transformed into a modern academic facility with 19 classrooms to seat upwards of 1,000 students. The building is expected to reopen in 2022.
The revamped Veteran Support Center will be located in Romney Hall. It’s new name has recently been chosen and announced. The center will be named after Bozeman Medal of Honor recipient, Travis W. Atkins.
Atkins, a staff sergeant in the Army, was killed in Iraq on June 1, 2007 while disarming a suicide bomber. During the altercation, Atkins threw himself over said bomber, sacrificing his own life to shield his three fellow soldiers from the oncoming blast. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor, at a White House ceremony in March 2019. Atkins was the son of Jack and Elaine Atkins of Bozeman.
“We hope to follow the values that were dear to him, always putting the care of others first. I know this university is up to the task,” said Joseph Schumacher, director of MSU’s Office of Veteran Services.
MSU’s current Veteran Support Center is located in the basement of the SUB. It offers free tutoring, counseling and mentoring services for student veterans, as well as spaces for studying and socializing. However, MSU’s student veteran population, which is roughly 450 students this fall, has outgrown the 875-square-foot space. The new 3,000-square-foot space will be a wonderful improvement.
Earlier this year, the Montana Legislature approved a request from the university for $7 million in funds for the work on Romney Hall. When it reopens, the building will also house centers for disabilities services, a new writing center and a new math center — all programs with a demonstrated high record for helping students.