LSU engineering dean 'optimistic' about raising $50 million

LSU engineering dean 'optimistic' about raising $50 million

LSU says it already has raised $8 million in private and corporate donations toward renovating and expanding Patrick F. Taylor Hall to create a "state-of-the-art engineering education complex." But to reach LSU's planned match toward the $100 million project, they've got another $42 million to go.

"We're actually quite optimistic," says College of Engineering Dean Rick Koubek. "The commitment the state has made, driven by the need that our constituents see for this program to grow, puts the wind at our back."

Gov. Bobby Jindal today announced his support for a state match of $50 million in capital outlay dollars for the public-private partnership. LSU would match the state's investments each year of the project. The Legislature would have to approve spending the money. The governor says investments in the flagship campus need to be a priority for the entire state.
"It's not a zero-sum game," Jindal says. "That shouldn't be viewed as detrimental to other schools."

Jindal says there will be more opportunities for similar partnerships with other Louisiana schools. He says the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the LSU Board of Regents both agree Louisiana will need to increase the number of engineering and construction management graduates statewide by at least 30% per year, even without fully taking into account growing demand tied to billions of dollars' worth of new industrial construction projects expected to begin in the next few years. The design phase will start in December, with a groundbreaking goal set for the fall of 2014 and completion expected in the fall of 2016.

"No doubt it's aggressive," Koubek says. "We need to get this space and this additional capacity now."

Completed in 1977, Taylor Hall remains the largest freestanding building on the LSU campus at approximately 300,000 square feet. The building has structurally depreciated over the past 30 years, and officials say it's in need of significant repair. The renovation and addition of a new annex dedicated to chemical engineering will bring total square footage to 380,000 and provide twice as much space to the LSU College of Engineering as it currently has.

You can check out a gallery of renderings of the project target="_blank">here.

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