Evangeline campus construction likely to begin in July

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCKThe lot that will hold the new location of the South Louisiana Community College's Evangeline campus is between the St. Martin Parish Head Start and the public pool near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Martinville.
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCKThe lot that will hold the new location of the South Louisiana Community College's Evangeline campus is between the St. Martin Parish Head Start and the public pool near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Martinville.

Construction on a new building for the South Louisiana Community College Evangeline campus in St. Martinville will likely begin in July, college officials said.

The cost of the project is estimated at $9.2 million and will replace the existing Evangeline campus. The SLCC has campuses in Lafayette, St. Martinville, Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, New Iberia, Opelousas and Ville Platte.

In St. Martinville, a 36,849-square-foot building will be constructed across the street from the existing campus on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, said Steven Domingue, project manager with Architects Southwest. The existing campus has multiple buildings that total about 32,000 square feet, Domingue said.

As part of the new campus plan, all programming will be under one roof, he said.

Special design features of the campus include a “tower element” on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive that will function as the entry of the building and create a pedestrian-friendly environment, Domingue said.

The site features a collision repair training program that is unique to the Evangeline campus, while it also offers training in nursing and welding careers, said SLCC Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Rudy Gonzales.

The campus formerly was part of the Acadiana Technical College, however, the technical campuses merged with SLCC in July. As part of the merger, more general education courses are offered on the traditional technical sites.

Gonzales said the design accounts for the additional educational offerings.

He said the construction documents are about 50 percent complete and by March, the construction documents will be ready for a state review. Based on that timeline, a contractor could start construction by July and construction could be completed by July 2014, Gonzales said.

“We’ll move into the new building about a month after — in August 2014,” he said. “Then, we’ll start tearing down the other building.”

The existing building is in extreme disrepair and would cost more to renovate than to build a new campus, Gonzales said. Once demolished, the former campus site will be used as a parking lot, he said.

The Evangeline campus project is part of a $173.7 million bond package for 23 construction projects on 14 campuses within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System authorized by the Legislature in 2007. The SLCC Gulf Area campus in Abbeville received $5.3 million in major renovations as part of the bond package.