Search continues for new SLCC St. Martinville campus site _lowres

Advocate file photo by BRYAN TUCK. -- Construction to replace the existing Evangeline campus of South Louisiana Community College in St. Martinville is set to begin in July. A search for a site for the new campus is underway.

South Louisiana Community College plans to start construction of its new St. Martinville campus in July, but officials still need to find a place to build the campus.

The college issued two requests for land donations in the past year in an attempt to find an alternative to a landlocked site on Martin Luther King Drive, across from the college’s existing campus.

The college received three informal offers of sites from property owners in Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville, and research on potential infrastructure needs at those sites is now underway, Christine Payton, public relations director, said in a news release.

A third request for land donations will be issued this week in another attempt to secure a formal donation of at least 9 acres of land within upper St. Martin Parish, she said.

Payton said Chancellor Natalie Harder is confident that a site will be identified in time for construction to start in July.

Construction of the $9.2 million, 36,000-square-foot campus to replace the existing one was set to begin in summer 2013, but those plans were stalled due to the limited space to expand the college in the future. The campus offers programs in business office technology, welding, nurse aide, patient care technician and practical nursing.

The new campus project is part of a $173 million bond package authorized by the Legislature in 2007 for 23 construction projects on 14 campuses within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. More than $5 million in renovations at the Gulf Area campus in Abbeville, completed in 2012, were included in the bond package.