Community college in Livingston Parish approved by LCTCS

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - State lawmakers approved a measure last year, to expand the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Part of that expansion included adding a community college in Livingston Parish.

Before the measure could fully take off, a feasibility study had to be done. Wednesday morning, the results were given to LCTCS board members, who approved the project moving forward.

"Having an infrastructure in place in Livingston Parish to support individuals who may work and want to continue upgrading skills training, or possibly have a change of career, having that infrastructure in place would be key," said William Wainwright, the chancellor of the Northshore Technical Community College in Bogalusa.

The proposed Livingston campus would be an additional site in the Northshore system, which Wainwright would oversee.

As for how big the new Livingston Parish campus would be, early estimates were that more than 2,000 students would be accommodated. The actual layout of the school and what it will cost are still being discussed.

"Whether we build some flexible use space for advance manufacturing versus a traditional classroom setting," Wainwright said, has yet to be decided. "So we will get closer to a number as we begin to plan and program that facility."

A group of lawmakers, educators and business owners helped with the feasibility study. They found that with the parish's continued growth, there is a need to plan ahead for the future. The results also show that right now, the group sees no justified reason to make a free-standing community college.

Whatever will be there is still a few years away. But there is space to expand. 12.2 acres of land are next to the literacy center. What they will put there will be determined by which careers are currently in demand.

Wainwright says advanced manufacturing, industrial technology, and health sciences are in demand now and will remain in demand for the future.

Legislation for the community college expansion says bonds can't be issued until 2015, but officials say there should be some movement in the next 18 months.

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