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University Initiatives Move Forward with Legislative Funding

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Some of the oldest buildings constructed on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will receive some much-needed attention soon. Girard Hall and several agricultural facilities near Blackham Coliseum are part of a capital outlay program funded in the recent state legislative session.

In addition, the recent state funding will help alleviate bottleneck courses – those high-demand courses required for most undergraduates – and fund unique projects across disciplines.

“ The funding we’re receiving – 100 percent formula funding – will open numerous possibilities for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We thank the Acadiana delegation, Governor Blanco and all of our legislators for their diligence in funding higher education across the state,” said UL Lafayette President Ray Authement.

“ It was most rewarding to work in a legislative environment that prioritized education,” said Ken Ardoin, UL Lafayette’s executive director for University Advancement. “It showed a commitment by the Governor and the legislature to move Louisiana forward in an aggressive and historical way. As we all know, prosperity lies through education.”

Preliminary plans for Girard Hall call for complete refurbishment of the current structure. Bill Crist, director of UL Lafayette’s Physical Plant, said initial plans include replacing all ceilings and floors in the building along with replacing electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems. He also noted that existing stairways would be modified. “That’s the basic scope of the work that will take place,” said Crist.

Girard Hall is home to the Psychology and the Educational Foundations and Leadership departments.

Near Blackham Coliseum, several agricultural facilities will be demolished and replaced with more modern facilities. These new facilities will continue to serve agricultural interests.

Besides facility improvements, the legislative funding will also provide relief to students by providing more sections of popular courses.

“ We’re going to be able to expand these courses by hiring more faculty and offering more sections,” said Dr. Steve Landry, vice president for Academic Affairs. The additional courses will better allow students to continue their studies without interruptions and facilitate their graduating on time.

Courses will be added in areas such as Business Systems Analysis and Technology, economics, psychology, sociology, Spanish, theater and visual arts.

The increased funding will also allow UL Lafayette to:

• Participate in the Clear Power and Energy Reserve Consortium with other research universities.

• Enable the Center for Cultural and Eco-tourism to develop a DVD series focused on Louisiana tourism and a CD series – Louisiana Crossroads – of Louisiana folk music.

• Support the School of Architecture’s role in redesigning downtown Abbeville and Kaplan.

• Additional funding for the construction and operation of the Cecil Picard Early Childhood Development Research Center in University Research Park.

• Funds to the university to operate and secure systems software.