LTC expansion under way

Published 12:25 am Friday, September 18, 2009

FERRIDAY — A groundbreaking ceremony for expansions at the Louisiana Technical College Shelby M. Jackson campus in Ferriday could happen as early as November, LTC-Shelby M. Jackson Dean Mignonne Ater said.

The school is waiting for the final sale of bonds to fund the project, Ater said.

The school was first promised approximately $4.5 million in funds for renovation in 2007, but in December 2008 the state bond commission put the project on hold until August.

Email newsletter signup

Ater said she believes the sale of bonds was delayed in part because of the national economic situation, but that she has been told the sale of bonds should happen this month.

“We have been assured that it will come to fruition, and that in the next few weeks and months we will see actual movement,” she said.

Following the sale of the bonds, school administrators will meet with the engineering and architecture consulting firm that has been hired for the project, CSRS, Inc., of Baton Rouge

“At that point the actual planning of the building and renovations will get going full force.”

The construction will be part of a three-phase, system-wide renovation project within the entire Louisiana Technical College system, and the Shelby M. Jackson campus is included in the first phase of the project.

In the past, discussion has been of building a large, multipurpose building separate from the existing facilities on the Shelby M. Jackson campus, but Ater said now administrators are holding off on a final decision and are considering renovating and expanding the existing building up and out.

“Instead of building a huge multipurpose to the rear of the grounds, we may want to do more renovations and expand of our current building, and the back building be something that is focused on one or two specific program areas,” she said.

While the groundbreaking could happen in November, serious construction on the project would likely wait until next spring, she said.

The need for the additional space is evident since the school has had a 27.6 percent increase in enrollment since last year at this time, Ater said.

“We really cannot expand programs because we have no classroom space,” she said. “Every classroom, every area of the current campus facility is in use, so we need additional classroom and laboratory space in order to not only meet our current needs, but to be able to expand and offer new programs.”