Southeastern breaks ground for new science-technology building

Monday, November 30, 2015 Science and Technology building groundbreaking
by: Rene Abadie

BREAKING GROUND AT SOUTHEASTERN – Participating in the groundbreaking with gold shovels marking the start of construction of Southeastern’s new Computer Science and Technology building are, front row from left, Vice President for Administration and Finance Sam Domiano, Chancellor William Wainwright of Northshore Technical Community College, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tammy Bourg, former President Randy Moffett, architect Jeffrey Smith, President John L. Crain, Rep. Chris Broadwater, Hammond Mayor Pete Panepinto, Rep. Steve Pugh, Don Matherne of Percy Matherne Construction, Facility Planning Director  Ken Howe, Dean of the College of Science and Technology Dan McCarthy, Professor of Computer Science Cris Koutsougeras, and Interim Head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology Lu Yuan. Also pictured are members of the faculty and others involved in the project.

     HAMMOND – With the demolished remnants of a former dormitory and office building in the background, Southeastern Louisiana University officials and other guests broke ground Friday morning (Nov. 20) to initiate construction of a new computer science and technology building.
     The 70,000 square foot building will be built on the southeast corner of the campus at North Oak and Dakota streets. The $24.4 million facility is being funded through state Capital Outlay funds; no university operating fund will be used in construction.
     The building will be constructed on the site of Southeastern Hall, a former dormitory and office building that was built in 1948, and an adjacent parking lot.
     “This is a transformational project for Southeastern for a number of reasons, including workforce development as we continue to evolve the university to fulfill our mission of serving our region,” said Southeastern President  John L. Crain. “This is a well-planned facility that will be staffed by highly specialized faculty teaching and mentoring a growing number of students in these technical areas.”
     He added that the new structure, along with the park area being developed across the street and a new parking lot, will create an inviting and impressive new visual entrance to the university along a highly traversed route from the interstate to campus.
     “Occupational forecasts indicate there are thousands and thousands of STEM-related jobs that need to be filled right here in Louisiana,” said Rep. Chris Broadwater, who was instrumental in shepherding the building project through the state’s Capital Outlay process. added. “If we don’t have the capacity to train these workers to fill these jobs, these students will leave the state.”
     He added that the building will be important as well for Northshore Community and Technical College. Through partnerships, NTCC students will have access to the excellent programs and facility should they chose to transfer to Southeastern.”
     Randy Moffett, former president of Southeastern and the University of Louisiana System, said the new building is the result of a long-term vision developed by a lot of people over a number of years.
     “It has the potential to be the cornerstone of Louisiana higher education on the Northshore,” he added.
     The project has been in the development stages since 2007. Total construction time is estimated at 17 months, making the facility possibly ready for the fall 2017 semester. The three-story facility will house components of several programs, including computer science, information technology, engineering technology, industrial technology, and occupational, safety, health and environment program..
     In addition to faculty offices and technology-rich classrooms, the building will have specialty labs for computer science, engineering and industrial technology, material testing, machine and manufacturing, automation and robotics, industrial hygiene and fire protection, an electronics and drafting.
     Architects for the project are Holly and Smith Architects of Hammond; general contractor is Percy Matherne Contractors, Inc. of Baton Rouge.

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