Tammany officials break ground on Advanced Campus project _lowres


Braving frigid and blustery conditions, St. Tammany Parish officials on Thursday celebrated the start of work on what they hope will become the key part of an ambitious 848-acre mixed-use development north of Lacombe.

The development is called Tamanend, and there are plans for commercial, retail and residential areas.

Parish President Pat Brister and other political leaders gathered to toss the first few clods of dirt on one part of the development: the 41-acre Advanced Campus, a dream of parish leaders for a decade.

When completed, the Advanced Campus will be home to Northshore Technical Community College, which will have three buildings on 12.6 acres donated by the parish. The first part to be constructed will be a 30,000-square-foot science, technology, engineering and math building expected to break ground in April, parish spokesman Ronnie Simpson said.

NTCC also will construct an advanced technology center to hold its welding, machine shop, HVAC and electrical programs, according to William Wainwright, the school’s chancellor.

When completed, the new center will be the main campus of NTCC, which also has campuses in Bogalusa, Hammond, Slidell and Greensburg.

The Advanced Campus also will become the site of the parish’s Emergency Operations Center, which is now in Covington. The planned facility also will hold the parish’s 911 operations, Simpson said.

The $1.2 million first phase of construction will create some of the infrastructure needed for the Advanced Campus site, including site clearing, two roads and a roundabout as well as a drainage canal. Funding for that work comes from a $5.3 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant specifically for infrastructure at the site, Simpson said. Barring major delays, the infrastructure should be completed by midsummer.

The Advanced Campus was first conceived in 2006 and authorized by the Legislature in 2008. But the project languished, the victim of the economic slowdown, officials said. Things picked up again the following year, when Weyerhaeuser donated the 41 acres for the campus. The parish chipped in to pay for master planning with Weyerhaeuser, which is creating Tamanend as a mixed-use development.

Work on Tamanend began late last summer.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.