Jennings to put up $100,000 for Sowela land buy

By By Doris Maricle / American Press

JENNINGS — The city agreed Tuesday to put up to $100,000 to help buy 10 acres of land next to Jennings High School for a new

Sowela Technical Community College campus.

The city is one of three local entities

that have committed financial or in-kind support to help buy the

property for the

proposed $10 million campus. The campus will replace the

overcrowded and outdated Morgan Smith campus on North Main Street.

The money will be used to help acquire

the land for the new campus, to be located just south of Jennings High,

facing Sherman

Street. Sowela officials have looked at the property and created a

potential layout it, said city financial adviser Greg Marcantel.

The property is being negotiated for $375,000 with an appraised valued of $377,000. The Jeff Davis Parish Landfill Commission

is negotiating the sale on behalf of the parish since it performs functions benefitting the entire parish.

The commission took a similar position

nearly 16 years ago with the purchase of land along La. 97 for the

Southwest Louisiana

War Veterans Home in Jennings. All entities will benefit from the

activities, including economic development opportunities,

Mayor Terry Duhon said.

Sowela has received $10 million in capital improvement funds from the state to build a new satellite campus. The campus is

part of the state’s plan to upgrade and build community and technical college facilities statewide, said Sowela Chancellor

Neil Aspinwall.

The college would offer existing programs and would expand programs to meet the growing demand for jobs in Southwest Louisiana.

Among the programs offered would be

manufacturing, pipefitting, welding, criminal justice, accounting,

business and health

care. Sowela is also working with area high schools to provide

more dual-enrollment courses to prepare students to enter the

workforce.

Officials hope to have the new facility under construction by 2015.