Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant during an event Friday that celebrated Waitr’s new downtown headquarters.
Dr. Authement at Cornerstone ceremonyUniversity of Louisiana at Lafayette officials laid the cornerstone today for campus’ newest addition - an $8 million building to house the Computer Science Department and the Center for Advanced Computer Studies.
Construction of the 61,000 square-foot building began in August last year. An official groundbreaking ceremony was delayed because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The multi-level facility is located where McNapsy Stadium once stood along Girard Park Circle. The building will feature 15,000 square feet dedicated to classrooms, auditoriums and conference rooms on each of the three floors.
Currently, the building is 30 percent complete with all three floor slabs in place as well as the roof structure. The exterior brick work is moving forward and the interior walls are being built. The project is progressing on schedule and should be completed by December.
“ It’s wonderful to lay the cornerstone for this building,” said President Ray Authement. “Computer Science and the Center for Advanced Computer Studies are cornerstones for this university. Both have helped place UL Lafayette in the top ranks of schools known for academic excellence in this field.”
For many years, the Computer Science Department has ranked among the top 10 programs in the nation. The Center for Advanced Computer Studies has ranked in the top 30 programs for its quality of research and in the top 50 in external research funds.
Today, there are more than 300 undergraduate majors in Computer Science with concentrations in Video Game Design and Development, Cognitive Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology and Scientific Computing.
Dr. Magdy Bayoumi, who leads both the Computer Science Department and CACS, wants students in these undergraduate and graduate programs to feel a sense of place in this new building.
Students will find state-of-the-art laboratories and auditoriums ready to connect to the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise as well as the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative. Both will supply high speed access to advanced research in the technology field.
“ The capabilities of this building are extremely significant,” said Bayoumi. “The learning opportunities that will be available to students cements UL Lafayette’s reputation as one of the best places to study computer science.”
He also wants to attract more involvement with private business and alumni with the new home. “We are inviting industry leaders, alumni and citizens to participate in the direction of this building and our program,” said Bayoumi.
This new Computer Science building is part of a construction boom on campus spaning the past decade. Future plans call for a proposed annex of Fletcher Hall to accommodate the growing College of the Arts. This facility could take some of the remaining space near the new Computer Science building while Burke-Hawthorne Hall will be enlarged and renovated.
Plans also include renovating and expanding the Student Union. The $31 million project, which would be financed through student-assessed fees, would fill in the green space between McLaurin Gym and Guillory Hall and would involve about 50,000 square feet.