NWLTC faculty gets first view of new facility
Last week, faculty of Northwest Louisiana Technical College took a tour of their future work environment, as crews were busy working on construction of the building.
"The tour Friday was for the faculty and staff of the Minden campus," Regional Director Charles Strong said. "Most of our folks had not had a chance to personally set foot in the new facility, and we wanted to give them an advance peek at the new work environment they will be enjoying this spring."
The Industrial Drive facility is expected to be complete in Feburay, but administrators are hoping for an early arrival so 2013 spring classes can be held in the new facilty as soon as possible.
"We will have some portion of spring classes in the new facility," Strong said. "We may have to start out the semester on Constable Street and finish up on Industrial Drive.
"We are just going to go with the flow and see how the schedule works out," he continued. "We hope we might be ahead of schedule instead of behind, even if that is a rare occurrence in construction."
The quality of work from Walker Construction Company in Ruston and good weather are where Strong is putting his hope.
"Our contractors are really making wonderful progress now," he said. "If the weather holds and everything works out right, maybe we will wind up ahead of schedule."
Strong said the land-locked, seven-acre Constable Street facilities are no longer adequate for the college's needs.
"Our old campus has served us very, very well for 60 years," he said. "I just marvel at the vision that folks had in 1950-51, when they designed and built this for us. However, we have long ago out-grown the old location, which is in a residential area that is difficult to find.
"In spite of the vision of the people who built it, the campus is working against us."
Strong feels the new campus will benefit the college in many ways.
"The location and the amount of property we are on is going to affect us in a positive way," he said. "We are about to move on to a 40-acre site, and at this time we are not developing 25 percent of it. There is enough room to build another half dozen huge buildings, so we will be able to grow way on into the 21st century. I can see us having 2,500 students at that the new campus in the time to come."
Current enrollment at NWLTC fluctuates during the year between 600 and 800 students and Strong predicts that number will increase.
"Much like Bossier Parish Community College grew when they moved from their old location to their beautiful new campus, I think we will also experience growth," he said. "I think, if we did nothing more than just move out there, we would see a 15 to 20 percent enrollment increase, just because of visibility and the new state-of-the-art nature of the facility."
For more information on Northwest Louisiana Technical College, call 371-3035 or visit them on the web at www.nwltc.edu.