Technical college to get funds for buildings

Published 11:52 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FERRIDAY — This fall, the Louisiana Technical College-Shelby M. Jackson campus may finally see the campus improvements they were first promised in 2007.

At a press conference earlier this month, the governor said that the state was committed to funding the first phase of $65 million in bond projects for community and technical colleges.

The projects were first authorized by the 2007 legislature, but have not started because of funding issues.

Email newsletter signup

The projects — authorized by Act 391 in 2007 — will include both renovation of existing facilities and new construction at locations within the Louisiana Technical College system.

The projects are to be completed in phases from 2009-2011, and the Ferriday campus is scheduled for the first phase.

The main focus of the construction project will be to build a new nursing and allied health building and to renovate existing space.

That will free up room for other programs, Shelby M. Jackson Campus Dean Mignonne Ater said.

“We are basically limited in the ability to expand and offer new programs because of the limited space,” she said.

Health Services Coordinator and nursing instructor Laurie Young said the nursing program has reached its maximum capacity in the existing facility.

“We have two nursing programs going on at the same time, a fast track and a traditional track, but we only have one lab, and the lab is fairly small,” Young said.

The new facility could allow for the college to have a simulation laboratory for its life-like training mannequins and a traditional laboratory for not only the nursing program but for the certified nurses’ assistant and phlebotomy tech programs as well, she said.

“We just want a lab space so we can fully utilize our simulation equipment,” Young said.

Though the nursing program will see the bulk of the new construction, all of the programs the college currently offers will see some improvements to their lab and classroom spaces, Ater said.

The state bond commission approved the project in December 2007, but things never got rolling, and in December 2008 the project was officially placed on hold until August, Ater said.

But the governor’s support makes Ater believe that things will get moving in August, she said.

“We hope that the sale of bonds starts, and we hope to start meeting with the architect and begin the planning and ultimately the construction phase,” Ater said.

Approximately $4.5 million has been designated for the campus.