LSU intends to break ground on the remainder of the 28-acre Nicholson Gateway Project, between Skip Bertman Drive and West Chimes Street, in October, said Stephen Moret, LSU Foundation President.
And if everything goes as planned, the entire project—which includes retail spaces and 1,550 beds of student housing—will be completed by the fall of 2018, said Moret, who was the featured speaker at today’s Forum 35 luncheon.
“Nicholson Gateway is coming together quickly,” Moret said.
Moret said the development will add life to LSU’s campus and create a new environment for students. But it will also do something else for the university in terms of philanthropy: “The project is going to be, we believe, successful enough that it will also be a significant funding driver for us to build up our fundraising…,” he said. “It won’t fund the whole thing, but it will help us close that gap in a significant way.”
LSU has made it a priority to implement a new fundraising model designed to shift the university from having one of the worst advancement programs in the Southeastern Conference to having one of the best in the country. Moret is spearheading the efforts since LSU President F. King Alexander charged him with overhauling how the university raises money.
Moret says he’s optimistic about what’s possible.
He’s been working on developing a new fundraising model. The new strategy integrates fundraising with LSU’s culture and cultivates alumni donors on a regular basis.
Moret is an LSU alumnus. While he was an active student at the university, he said giving back to the university financially wasn’t a priority once he graduated. He told those at the luncheon he didn’t understand the importance of giving back to a higher education institution until he was in graduate school at a university with fundraising at the forefront.
“What we’re really talking about is a cultural shift,” he said.
The Nicholson Gateway Project factors into LSU’s efforts to make fundraising a more visible component of LSU’s culture.
Estimated to cost in approximately $180 million, the Nicholson Gateway Project has been in the works for several years. It could cost in excess of $200 million if the additional Spruce project, which will be developed on-campus at a different location, is included.
Construction on the foundation’s new $10.5 million headquarters is underway at the site. Moret’s new office will be on the second floor and the building will feature a Legacy Room he said will be an asset to the university’s fundraising efforts.
The LSU Foundation will be high profile now, he said, because it will be more visible on campus.
“That’s one of the things we’re trying to achieve in terms of making philanthropy a central part of what it means to be a part of LSU,” he said.