Governor Bobby Jindal joined higher education officials today to highlight $16.615 million in new funding for capital outlay projects at Louisiana Tech and Grambling. These investments include funding for the new business building and research park at Louisiana Tech.
Governor Jindal said, "Even though we are still in a tight budget environment, we will continue to fund key priorities so we can upgrade facilities with necessary technology and equipment -- and provide our students with a quality learning environment. These investments are about more than just bricks and mortar though. It's about giving our students the tools to compete with students at every school in the country and to be prepared for jobs in the 21st century workforce."
Funding for the projects at Louisiana Tech and Grambling are included in this year's capital outlay budget which the Governor signed earlier this month. In total, this year's capital outlay budget includes $75.425 million in new funding for higher education projects. Since 2008, Governor Jindal has worked with the Legislature to invest $608 million for critical higher education infrastructure investments across campuses in Louisiana. At Louisiana Tech and Grambling, the Jindal administration has invested $30.8 million and $17.3 million respectively, to improve each campus' infrastructure.
President of Louisiana Tech University, Dr. Dan Reneau said, "We are delighted to have Governor Jindal on our campus today and are very pleased with the funding provided for Louisiana Tech. These monies will provide seed funds for economic development throughout north Louisiana."
President of Grambling State University Dr. Frank Pogue said, "Today is a very exciting day for the Grambling community. For years, we invested valuable resources to keep Long-Jones Hall and the Library functioning -- and the Governor's announcement that we're getting the funds needed to fix these issues means we'll finally be able to devote more resources to other parts of the campus. This is a historic day for GSU - these investments will vastly improve our campus and our students' learning environment -- and I want to express appreciation to the Governor and the Legislature for making Grambling a priority -- even during this difficult budget cycle."
President of the University of Louisiana System Dr. Randy Moffett said, "We thank Governor Bobby Jindal's administration for keeping higher education construction projects a priority, whether it is needed facility upgrades at Grambling State University or expansion of research facilities at Louisiana Tech University that will drive economic development."
Senator Bob Kostelka said, "Our communities rely on these institutions for their workforce and their economies - and that's why it's so important we make meaningful investments into our areas of higher education. These dollars put forth by the Jindal Administration, and agreed upon by the Legislature, will improve the educational environment of our students, which will benefit all of us."
Louisiana Tech Projects
Funding for Louisiana Tech includes $4 million in funding to construct the replacement of the Business Building. The new building is halfway complete and on schedule to be finished in April of 2012. The building includes faculty offices and classrooms, and will be equipped with the same state-of-the-art technology that industry professionals are using in the workplace. Including this year's funding, the Jindal administration has committed a total of $12.4 million to this project.
The capital outlay budget also includes $3 million in funding for the Louisiana Tech Research Park, which is in the final stages of land acquisition. The Louisiana Tech Research Park features facilities that will help recruit and retain high growth technology businesses.
The staff at the facility will connect tenant businesses to a network of investors, open doors for new partnership opportunities and link entrepreneurs with mentors to help them focus on the key things that will allow them to grow and develop their businesses in Louisiana. The facility also will be home to some of Louisiana Tech's researchers and will help promote and expand the school's research activities through partnering with cutting-edge businesses and promoting technology-based economic development. Including this year's funding, the Jindal administration has committed a total of $13 million to the research park.
Funding for Grambling includes $2.8 million for construction at the school's library which is outdated, and parts of the building are also unusable because of flooding. With this new money, Grambling will be able to replace the roofing, heating and air conditioning, walls and plumbing in the library.
The Governor's capital outlay bill also includes $4.315 million in new funding toward the renovation of Long-Jones Hall, which is Grambling's main administrative building. This funding will allow Grambling to repair the structure, upgrade the building's electrical systems to make them more energy efficient and bring the building in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Including this year's funding, the Jindal administration has committed a total of $4.715 million to the Long-Jones hall renovation project.
Additionally, the capital outlay bill includes $2.5 million in new funding to help Grambling address ongoing infrastructure needs, including improving the electrical systems at the school.