- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - A proposal to establish a new South Louisiana Community College campus in St. Martinville is on hold, but city officials say they will work to keep the college in the St. Martin Parish city.

The Daily Iberian reported (http://bit.ly/1alkqGG) the current campus occupies several buildings on Martin Luther King Drive.

The college wants a single building to house its operations.

However, it is landlocked in a residential area, college spokeswoman Christine Payton said.

The college wants a new site because the current one is not easily accessible, there are parking issues and some noisy programs annoy neighbors.

Payton said the buildings are “in a state of disrepair.” It would have been more costly to repair the buildings than build a single campus, she said.

“Much consideration was given to renovating the building when plans began,” she said. “But upon further inspection by architects, it was decided that repairs and renovations would be more costly than building a new campus.”

Mayor Thomas Nelson said the city is willing to work with the college to keep it in St. Martinville, including helping to identify a suitable site.

Payton said the college is looking for a land donation for the campus and is working with the St. Martin Parish School Board to identify potential sites.

The college submitted a request for land donors in October 2013 for a 9-acre site so the school can house the proposed 36,000-square-foot building, Payton said. However, no one submitted proposals.

“We need to keep the community college here in St. Martinville. We need to move and do what we have to do,” Nelson said. “It may even mean that the city has to put some money aside to pay for some property.”

Construction of a new campus building is estimated at $9.2 million.

The new campus would house the same programs now offered, including business office technology, welding, nurse aide, patient care technician and practical nursing instruction.

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Information from: The Daily Iberian, http://www.iberianet.com

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