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Technical college grand opening delayed for Jindal

FERRIDAY — Despite already having students roaming the halls this semester, the Central Louisiana Technical Community College Ferriday campus will have to wait a few more weeks for a formal ribbon cutting.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was previously scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed because of scheduling conflicts, Campus Dean Mignonne Ater said.

“The governor has expressed interest in being part of the ceremony, and there were some conflicts between his office and school officials,” Ater said. “We’ve literally been in the building since late March, but we’ve just been having to put it off for different reasons.

“But we’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while.”

In 2011, the college broke ground on the $5.2 million project that included an 11,500-square-foot addition to the nursing school in the campus’ main building and renovations to the existing 10,900 square feet of the building.

The renovations to the campus were part of Act 391 facilities project that was passed during the 2007 legislative session and provided 23 projects for 14 community and technical colleges in the state, totaling $173.7 million.

Ater said construction crews are still working on last minute touch-up items throughout the campus, but that the majority of the construction is complete.

“The construction is more than 95-percent done, and they’re just doing some final punch-list items,” Ater said. “Everyone is excited and loves being back on the main campus in the building.”

But the renovations to the campus buildings haven’t been the only changes the college has seen since beginning construction last year.

In July, the college and its six branches were granted permission by the Louisiana legislature to begin operating as a community college.

The colleges were renamed and were authorized to grant certificated, diplomas, associate degrees and associate transfer degrees.

Ater said the college is in the strategic planning phase to begin identifying and selecting new programs to offer to students as early as next spring and fall semesters.

“We should be seeing the expansion of general education classes, as well as the identification of some new programs, over the next few months,” Ater said. “The transition to the community college course offering is definitely under way.”

All the colleges will operate under a provisional status until receiving full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which could take three to five years.

An exact date for the ribbon cutting ceremony hasn’t been confirmed, but Ater said it would be sometime in October.