St. Martinville land donated for new SLCC Evangeline campus

South Louisiana Community College plans to build its new Evangeline campus on property donated with the help of the city of St. Martinville.

The site, near the intersection of La. 31 and Moore Avenue, awaits approval by the college’s management board.

The college had issued requests for proposals for at least nine acres of donated property in St. Martin Parish to build the 36,000-square-foot, $9.2 million building to house academic and workforce training programs.

The building replaces the college’s existing campus on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in St. Martinville. The college had planned to build its new campus across the street from property donated by the St. Martin Parish School Board. However, that site would have landlocked the college.

“The citizens of St. Martinville and the surrounding area deserve the opportunity to have access to academic and workforce training programs that will prepare them for tomorrow’s workforce,” SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder said in a news release. “We know this new campus will lead to positive outcomes for the people of St. Martinville.”

The property is owned by the Levert family, a longtime sugar-cane farming family now in real estate, St. Martinville Mayor Thomas Nelson said.

Nelson said the family wanted to donate the property to the city, which in turn planned to donate the land to the college, but deadlines made it more feasible for the family to donate directly to the college. St. Martinville has committed to paying the cost to set up utilities on the property, Nelson said.

Nelson credited the Leverts for helping retain the college in St. Martinville.

Nelson said he expects the new construction to attract more businesses on about 30 undeveloped acres near the site of the new campus.

The site is near the former Martin Mills factory where an industrial park is located. Those businesses can provide hands-on learning to college students seeking experience and internships, Nelson said.

“It’s an ideal location. It was a fight to keep it here,” he said. “The city was prepared to buy nine acres to ensure that we keep the college in St. Martinville.”

Approval by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System board of supervisors is pending a standard 60-day due diligence period for inspection of the property and a review of the land’s title.

Construction of the campus is expected to start this summer.