by Adam Lord
The next phase in LSUA’s exciting new look is finally complete! With community members and dignitaries from across the state on hand, LSUA cut the ribbon welcoming guests onto the new LSUA Plaza, the culmination of a major infrastructure capital project.
Over the last 18 months, construction has been ongoing across LSUA’s campus to overhaul an aging drainage system and redirect the flow of traffic entering campus. The primary focus of the $6.5 million project was to install an in-ground drainage system connecting to waterways leading off-campus. Many students and faculty can attest to the standing water that used to plague areas of campus during moderate rain showers. The new drainage system efficiently whisks water away from the heart of campus, rendering roads and sidewalks accessible even in inclement weather.
After the subterranean system was installed, road crews provided roads across the whole campus with a smooth, new asphalt overlay. New street lighting was also installed lining the roadways.
LSUA Chancellor Paul Coreil said in his address, “We are on the go here. We have, and will continue, to grow this university. We need a modern campus to produce the educational product needed in our community. LSUA is indebted to the LSU Board of Supervisors, the Central Louisiana Legislative Delegation, the Louisiana National Guard, and the Office of the Governor for standing up to support us in every endeavor we tackle.”
The pinnacle of the project is the new grand entrance to campus on Hwy 71 South and the adjacent pedestrian plaza. Visitors are now welcomed into campus along a divided entry that spills onto a spacious roundabout. Just beyond lies the beautiful brick and pavement LSUA Plaza that welcomes pedestrians down a wide, tree-lined boulevard. Once the new Student Success Center is built on the south side of campus, this plaza will serve as one of the main arteries for students walking through campus.
Richard Hartley, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor John Bel Edwards, remarked, “Louisiana has been fortunate the last few years to be able to invest in higher education. The Office of the Governor is excited to be part of this project. We believe having adequate infrastructure directly contributes to the educational outcomes of an institution.”
Valencia Sarpy Jones, Chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, expressed her excitement noting, “For over 60 years, LSUA has been making a positive impact across the region…providing educational and economic opportunities for the citizens of Central Louisiana. Gone are the days of our students wading through knee-deep water to get to class. This transformational investment in our university will allow LSUA to recruit and retain more of our region’s best and brightest students and to prepare them for the workforce demands of CENLA and beyond. As Chairman, I look forward to continued collaboration and partnership with, Chancellor Coreil, and our campus leadership team as we drive toward our ambitious enrollment goal. It is my hope that we will continue to do the good work to elevate LSUA.”
Senior Sophie Borhi, reigning Ms. LSUA and President of the LSUA Student Government, explained, “This was a long and messy project. Our campus was beautiful before this work began, but this will ensure a solid foundation for students for years to come. The students of LSUA are thankful to all who were involved in taking this project from a conversation to completion.”
Other improvements accompanying the project include a second roundabout at the intersection of Grady Britt Dr. and Garry Tisdale Dr., designed to ease the flow of traffic at the front of campus. Additionally, a new 110-spot parking lot was constructed south of the new grand entrance that will service the future Student Success Center.
“The completion of this project at this moment is the perfect time to complement the growth of the institution and usher in the modernization of LSUA’s campus,” said Deron Thaxton, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. “The master plan was set in motion nearly 10 years ago. Seeing this project to completion is evidence of our drive to continue moving forward.”