(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:23 AM
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 The campus will replace the overcrowded and outdated Morgan Smith campus on North Main Street.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.