LEDD Donates 10 Acres For New Campus
The new home for the Rod Brady Campus of the Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) will be 10 acres near the Jena Airport on LA 8. At a meeting of the LaSalle Economic Development District (LEDD) last Thursday night, members voted unanimously to donate 10 acres in the organization’s Industrial Park Complex, adjacent and west of Uni- versal Plant Services west of the Jena Airport.
Back in July, state elected officials announced that appropriations were made by the Louisiana Legislature in HB 2 to provide $10-million for the construction of a new Rod Brady Campus. The bill provided $1-million in cash for the design and architectural aspects of the new construction and another $9-million for the actual construction.
“We are very grateful and indebted to LEDD for their strong support and we simply would not be here without them,” CLTCC Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Sawtelle said. “The size of their investment is tremendous. Right now, we are on just a little less than three acres (at the current E. Bradford location in Jena) and it is landlocked. The place for the footprint of the new building or buildings and the room to grow is more than we could ask for.”
While the official motion during the meeting of LEDD was to donate 10 acres, which has an approximate value of $100,000, Sawtelle said he considers it an “investment” instead of a donation.
“It is an investment that’s going to yield a return for generations to come,” the Chancellor noted. “And everyone at CLTCC, from our board members to Louisiana Community and Technical College System President, Dr. Monty Sullivan, we are indebted to the generosity of LEDD.”
Sawtelle said the new facility to be constructed for the Rod Brady Campus will be the fourth major project the system has had in 12 years.
“We’ve had a new construction at our Winnfield campus, a major overhaul of our Ferriday campus and new construction in Alexandria which yielded two new buildings downtown,” he said. “Everyone, from Jena to Baton Rouge, is very excited about the prospect of this investment because we know there’s going to be a great return on that investment.”
The Chancellor noted that the initial phase of building the new Rod Brady Campus is a very slow progression, but emphasized that taking time to evaluate the needs to be incorporated into the new facility is very important.
“It’s a slow process and so the first money that we have is devoted to the design/architectural process,” he said. “Our research continues and it will be 2024 when we actually bring our program managing team and architectural team to start doing an assessment of the land, what the options are there and then begin what would be the design itself.”
He noted that several members from CLTCC, including Rod Brady staff and LEDD officials, have conducted several “fact-finding missions” during the past few months, touring other newly built state facilities and putting plans together as to what works best for LaSalle Parish.
Now that land has been secured, reviewing the plot and organizing the layout and incorporating the landscape into the design can be achieved.
But before all of that takes place, Sawtelle did not want to overlook what the donation of the property means to CLTCC.
“This is yet another wonderful example of their (LEDD) commitment to LaSalle Parish through career and technical education,” he said. “This is the first major event that will help us save tremendously on resources and stretch our dollars even further so we can have a world-class facility right here in Jena, Louisiana.”
LEDD President Walter Dorroh, Jr. was proud that his fellow LEDD members realized the importance of investing in the new Rod Brady Campus project.
“LEDD is pleased and honored to be able to assist in getting a modernized and updated CLTCC here in Jena,” Dorroh stated. “The Rod Brady campus has been an absolutely terrific partner in economic development by providing well-trained employees for companies and investors in our community. It is fitting and appropriate that the new campus is going to be located in our industrial park.”
“The Rod Brady school is an integral part of the investment, industrial, and business community in our parish and surrounding area,” he concluded. “The facility needs to be where the action is, so to speak. We congratulate our friends and partners in economic development there and look forward to continuing to work with them for the betterment of LaSalle Parish.”