Pending the signature of Gov. John Bel Edwards, Northwestern State University is set to receive $65.1 million in capital outlay for three facility projects. Those projects include the planning and construction of a health performance center, renovation of Warrington Place at NSU’s Shreveport campus and replacement of Kyser Hall, the school’s main academic building.
With the legislative session having ended June 8, House Bill 2 is now in the hands of the governor awaiting his approval.
Capital outlay is state funding designated for facility and infrastructure improvement projects that is not part of the university’s operating budget.
“I express my gratitude to our legislative delegation, State Senator Louie Bernard, State Senator Jay Luneau, State Representative Kenny R. Cox for their support of NSU,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones. “These facility projects collectively and individually contribute to keeping NSU up to date, improving the learning environment, upholding athletic excellence and attracting prospective students and student-athletes.”
Jones also thanked State Senate President Page Cortez, Sens. Bret Allain, Barry Milligan, and Mike Reese, State Reps. Stuart Bishop, Gabe Firment, Jeremy LaCombe, Ed Larvadain III, Jack McFarland and Vincent Pierre along with Gina Goings and Mark Moses for their assistance.
The projects include the following:
- $44.7 million is designated for the construction of a state-of-the-art academic building to replace Kyser Hall. Officials broke ground on the facility in March. The building will be named for former NSU President Dr. Robert Alost.
At 73,200 square feet, Alost Hall will feature large multipurpose classrooms that can open into one large multi-functional area, simulation laboratories for graduate and undergraduate nursing and anesthesia programs, a social work/psychology clinic and training area, a café, a dozen 30-person classrooms, two 40-person classrooms and three 50-person classrooms. There will be space for 60 offices and an administrative office suite that could include spaces for deans, department heads, administrative assistants, a large conference room and reception area.
- $13.4 million is designated for renovation of Warrington Place at the Nursing Education Center in Shreveport, which is utilized by the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health as well as the NSU Child and Family Network.
Warrington Place was constructed in 1966 for the use as the headquarters for the College of Nursing academic and dormitory building. The top three floors of the dormitory have been demolished and are ready for renovation. The renovation will consist of nursing classrooms, labs, bookstore and activities center.
- $7 million is designated for planning and renovation of a new health performance center, which includes the entire athletic fieldhouse complex that serves student athletes, coaches and other personnel for NSU’s 14 intercollegiate sports.
A new annex training facility will be constructed on the back of the current fieldhouse. It will include a new 11,600 square foot weight room with space for more than 100 student-athletes, a 25-foot artificial turf pad, a new nutrition center, student-athlete lounge and offices for the strength and conditioning staff. The second phase of the project will convert the current weight room into a high-tech rehabilitation center along with other sports medicine upgrades. The third phase will be the renovation of the current Eugene Christmas athletic training room.
“The health performance center will significantly impact recruiting student athletes and enable them to perform at their best,” Jones said. “NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health is Louisiana’s pacesetter in the preparation of nursing and allied health professionals. Enhancements to Warrington Place will enable NSU to continue to pursue the highest standards and uphold the quality of our graduates to meet healthcare needs.”
Funds dedicated to the renovation of Warrington Place is a response to continued growth and expansion of NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, Jones added. NSU is the leading producer of nurses in Louisiana and has developed strong partnerships with health systems in the region to fill critical roles in the shrinking healthcare workforce. NSU recently was awarded a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to add 300 nurses to the workforce in the next four years, and more than 1,000 nurses by 2032.
In addition to the Child and Family Network, there are currently two lecture-style rooms, two radiologic science labs, two small nursing clinical labs and two computer labs. The renovation will enable NSU to expand the programs offered in Shreveport by increasing the size of the nursing skills labs and offering more classroom space for nursing and allied health classes, including the accelerated nursing program, paramedic/military medic to RN program and the ultrasound program. There will also be ample space for computer labs and offices.
The impact of improved facilities at the Northwestern State has an impact far beyond the campus. A study reports that one out of 53 jobs in the region is supported by NSU and its students. NSU’s total annual economic impact is $519.7 million in added income and the university supports 7,204 jobs in northwest and central Louisiana.