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Delgado in final stages of opening New Orleans East campus

28th May 2014   ·   0 Comments

By April Siese
Contributing Writer

Delgado Community College is set to open phase one of their Sidney Collier Campus to students this August. The announcement comes a little over a year after breaking ground on construction at the site, located in the Desire neighborhood of New Orleans. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in April of 2013 and construction officially began the next month.

The campus was once home to the Sidney Collier Technical College, an offshoot of Louisiana Technical College Region One. The school was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the campus was absorbed into the Delgado system five years later.

The $21 million project is being funded by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. $12 million from the state is going towards phase one and $9 million from FEMA has been allocated for phase two. Phase one will see the opening of two buildings, while phase two will add a third building, expected to be completed next fall. Collectively, the buildings will house classes and student services that include health services, testing areas, a student lounge, food services, and a book store.

The campus is located at 3727 Louisa St, with a main entrance facing Louisa St. and Higgins Blvd. Its neoclassical entrance anchors the two two-story buildings of phase one. Those buildings will house classrooms, labs, and faculty and administrative offices totaling 36,000 square feet. The third building, a large, 25,000 square foot facility, will include student services in addition to classrooms, labs, and workshops, as detailed in a press release provided by Delgado.

In addition to the cumulative 61,000 square feet of the three buildings, 100,000 square feet of parking and landscaping will be offered as well as a spacious courtyard that may be used for further expansion of the campus. The Sidney Collier site is the tenth campus to be added to the community college system. Delgado offers classes throughout the Greater New Orleans area as well as the Northshore. Delgado is the oldest and largest community college in the state.

In regards to the impact the campus has made on students currently enrolled at Delgado, Executive Dean Thomas Lovince said that there has been much excitement expressed from students, especially those coming from other locations. “People who knew about Collier [before] understand the impact of this ser­vice in the community,” Lovince told The Louisiana Weekly.

Collier’s curriculum will be focused primarily on high-demand jobs as per the Louisiana Senate’s Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund. The list of Louisiana’s High Priority Growth Industries includes computer science, industrial production, and construction class, all of which will be offered at the school. Delgado will be adding to its construction and drafting program by offering civil construction courses.

Additionally, the campus will offer courses ranging from architecture to green jobs, HVAC, and healthcare. Transferable Associates of Arts and Associates of Science degrees will be offered at the campus as well as non-credit courses and a high school equivalency program. English as a Second Language courses will also be available.

A concurrent enrollment option is available for students at nearby George Washington Carver High School. High school students will be able to get an early start on college while still enrolled at Carver. The school has been committed to neighborhood outreach, holding multiple community meetings regarding the campus and enrollment, including five upcoming community sessions.

Delgado has also been working closely with local churches to keep residents abreast of new developments. The first community session in that series is set for May 28 at 6pm and will be held at the New Orleans Healing Center located at 2372 St. Claude Ave.

“Delgado Community College is pleased to begin offering a wide range of educational opportunities to residents of eastern New Orleans and nearby areas of the Greater New Orleans region. The importance of having a state-of-the-art, all-new facility opening in August at the Sidney Collier Site cannot be overstated,” Interim Chancellor Deborah Lee said in a statement.

“Nine long years have passed since the people of this neighborhood lost their technical college, which for decades had been a source of community pride and a catalyst for achievement and growth. We are excited by the possibilities afforded by the opening of this beautiful new college on the same ground where generations of New Orleanians achieved their educational experience, and made their way into the workforce and a better way of life.”

This article originally published in the May 26, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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