SLCC nears fundraising goal for health sciences building _lowres

Rendering provided by South Louisiana Community College -- This is a rendering of the proposed building to house a new registered nursing program at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette. Proposed is a $17 million health and sciences building constructed between the college’s Ardoin and Devalcourt Street buildings. The more than 83,000 square-foot building will house the college’s other health-related career programs as well.

Less than $23,000 stands between South Louisiana Community College’s goal of raising more than $2 million for its new $17 million health sciences building.

The project is part of more than $250 million in planned Louisiana Community and Technical College System projects approved by the Legislature in 2013 — with the caveat that the colleges raise a percentage of construction costs on their own. SLCC had to raise 12 percent of its project’s cost.

Plans to start construction of the health sciences building in 2015 are still on track with the state Bond Commission’s approval of the project on Thursday, said Christine Payton, SLCC public relations director.

The college has $22,954 to raise to meet its match requirement after receipt of a $10,000 boost on Friday afternoon from MidSouth Bank, Payton said.

The largest pledge — $1 million — came from the Lafayette Parish School Board.

The board approved the funding last year in support of the Early College Academy, a high school started in 2008 as a partnership between SLCC and the school system in 2008.

Housed on SLCC’s campus, the high school allows students to earn an associate degree in tandem with their high school diploma. A wing of the new health sciences building will be the academy’s new home, enabling an expansion of the option for Lafayette Parish students.

Another $700,000 financial commitment came from the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority, while the Lafayette Economic Development Authority contributed $210,000. A private, anonymous donor pledged $100,000 and Whitney Bank contributed $2,500, Payton said.

The building will anchor the college’s health programs, including its new one in registered nursing that begins classes in August. The program began accepting applications last month and quickly met its capacity of 40 students. Six students are alternates, Payton said.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.