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If you've walk across the Quad at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette these days, you know something is up. A portion of land between Martin Hall and Hebrard Boulevard is roped off and heavy machinery is leveling the soil.

All of this work is part of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration's construct a new annex for F.G. Mouton Hall and renovate the current structure. University leaders officially broke ground for construction of the new building Wednesday afternoon.

"This is another sign of progress on campus," said UL Lafayette President Ray Authement. "We want to give our students the best education they can get. With this new building and the renovation of F.G. Mouton Hall, we are creating technologically-advanced areas where students will learn from top-notch faculty members."

The project includes the construction of a $9.24 million, three-story structure for the college. Technically, the project will be an extension of F.G. Mouton Hall, which sits directly behind Martin Hall. Once it's built, the original F.G. Mouton Hall will be renovated from ceiling to floor and the buildings will connect via two walkways.

"One of our college's objectives is to continue to integrate technology into the learning experience of our students," said Lewis Gale, who serves as the college's dean. "The new building, along with the renovation, will allow us to accomplish that objective employing state-of-the-art facilities."

Classrooms and computer labs used by students will be located on the ground floor, along with a 220-seat auditorium, which can be divided into two 110-seat auditoriums.

Eight 50-seat seminar rooms will accommodate the latest technology. Students will be able to plug in laptops at their desks, for instance, and will be able to take advantage of wireless networks in the future.

The additional space also enables the college to offer more courses at times that are convenient for students.

"This construction project is a significant step towards improving the educational opportunity for business students throughout this region," said Gale. "I want our college to be recognized as delivering excellent programs and promoting learning in the most conducive environment."

Also on Wednesday, the college recognized Acadiana businessman Braxton "B.I." Moody III for whom the college was renamed. Currently, Moody is chairman of The Moody Company and Louisiana State Newspapers Inc., both located in Lafayette.

He graduated from Rayne High School and attended Auburn University. His college career was interrupted by service in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, Moody returned and entered then-SLI where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

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