South Louisiana Community College plans to open its new campus in St. Martinville in time for the fall 2016 semester; meanwhile, construction will start soon on its health sciences building in Lafayette.
The $9.2 million, 38,000-square-foot building in St. Martinville is expected to be completed by July, said Bryan Glatter, SLCC vice chancellor of administration and finance.
Last November, the college broke ground at the campus’ site off of La. 31 with an anticipated opening this year or early spring 2016, but weather delays pushed back the date, Glatter said.
The site was donated by the city of St. Martinville, which also is paying to extend water and sewer lines to the property as part of its commitment to ensure the college stays in the city.
The St. Martin Parish School Board had donated property across from the college’s current St. Martinville campus closer to the city center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, but the property did not allow room for future expansion.
SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder had appealed to the community for a land donation, and the La. 31 property and some land in Breaux Bridge owned by the Pellerin family were offered. The La. 31 property was selected by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
At the construction site, workers have erected the metal building frame and the interior studs are being installed.
“They’re working from the rear of the building forward, and plumbing contractors will be on the site soon,” Glatter said. “The city is putting in a water line. We thought that would slow us down, but they’ll have it in time for us to do our pressure testing in March.”
The college, which has campuses across Acadiana, will soon start construction of a new health sciences building on its Lafayette campus.
The $17.1 million, 63,000-square-foot, three-story building will front Bertrand Drive and take up the current parking area in front of that campus’ Ardoin building. Parking will move to an adjacent abandoned lot that was refurbished to make way for the new building. That transition to the new parking should begin sometime next month, Glatter said.
The building is needed for the campus, which recently began a new registered nursing program in addition to its existing health career programs.
“Right now, we have two biology and science rooms, and they’re used all day long,” he said. “This building will be a great benefit and also have a multiuse auditorium with telescopic seats.”
The new building will also feature a virtual hospital for training opportunities, classrooms and lab space. The project was approved by the Legislature in 2013 as part of $250 million in community and technical college projects with the stipulation the colleges raise 12.5 percent of the construction costs on their own.
The share for SLCC to raise was $2.1 million — with $1 million coming from the Lafayette Parish School Board as an investment in the partnership with the college to house its Early College Academy. The academy enables students to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.The new building will free up space on the college’s Devalcourt campus to expand the academy and offer the option to more high school students.
The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority contributed $700,000 and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority put up $210,000. Some donations were anonymous, while local banks and companies also stepped forward to help the college meet its fundraising goal.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.