- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU has exceeded its goal of raising $50 million in private donations needed to renovate Patrick F. Taylor Hall. The plan is to turn it into a high-tech engineering complex that can compete with any other engineering school in the country.

Monday’s announcement means LSU has held up its end in the $100 million public-private partnership first announced in October 2012. The partnership calls for the state to match every dollar LSU raises as part of the Breaking New Ground campaign.

LSU has raised $52.5 million, eclipsing the original goal, and doing it three months ahead of schedule.

“This investment will help us continue to move our economy forward,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said, adding the state is anticipating an industrial boom over the next several years and will need engineers and computer scientists to fill an expected increase in demand.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1fr3lhk ) the Louisiana Workforce Commission estimates Louisiana will need to increase the number of engineers and construction management graduates by 30 percent over the next several years.

Analysts say Louisiana can expect to see roughly $60 billion worth of new plant construction and plant expansions over the next several years, mostly driven by the low price of natural gas.

One of the “biggest challenges is having enough skilled workers” to meet demands, Jindal said. “It’s a good problem to have.”

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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