College seeks $1M for Lafayette building project

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — South Louisiana Community College still needs $2 million to complete a $17 funding package for a proposed health and sciences building on the college’s Lafayette campus.

Chancellor Natalie Harder said the state has pledged $15 million, but the money hinges on the college raising $2 million.

Harder has asked the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority for $1 million. The authority makes money through investments and financing and uses the proceeds to support public projects.

The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/18PH6OM) the organization’s board will study the request, but it is uncertain when a decision will be made.

“We are out of space,” Harder told the LPTFA board in a presentation that framed the $1 million grant as an investment in a community college that has seen rapid growth in recent years.

The college’s main building on Devalcourt Street opened in 2005.

“We grew out of that space four years after it was built,” Harder said.

She said the planned 83,400-square-foot health and sciences building would house expanded programs for nursing, lab technicians and medical assistants.

“We can’t graduate enough of them,” Harder said of students in health care programs.

The college in March 2014 will launch a training program for registered nurses that is expected to graduate 60 registered nurses a year when operating at full capacity.

“Our RN waiting list is up to 300 people,” Harder said.

The health and sciences building also would serve as the new home for the Lafayette Parish School System’s Early College Academy, where students can earn an associate’s degree from the college while still in high school.

The building would allow the Early College Academy to expand from its current enrollment of 220 students to as many as 1,000 students, the college said.

Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Pat Cooper, who spoke in support of the project at a trust authority meeting last week, said he would ask the School Board to consider helping meet the $2 million goal to complete funding for the building if the LPTFA approves the grant.

He said expanding the Early College Academy would have a similar effect to building a new high school.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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