Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
|Right move to rethink Delta plan|
State officials showed a flash of thinking in the long-term when they allowed recently that plans to raze the old State Farm office building along Interstate 20 in Monroe were being re-evaluated.
Let us recall that the state had plans to tear down the old State Farm facility to make way for the construction of a new, $30-million-campus for Delta Community College.
The focal point of concern among state officials in tearing down the State Farm building for Delta apparently centers on efforts to offer the property to a new business or industrial concern that has an interest in locating there. Offering the property to an existing business in northeast Louisiana that has plans to expand its operations would appear to be an option as well.
Haven't we heard something to that effect before?
Hasn't it been suggested in this space in the past that tearing down the old State Farm office building to build a new home for Delta was a mistake?
Hasn't it been suggested here that the old State Farm site would make an ideal location to house a new business or industrial endeavor that has plans to locate in the region?
More on that point in a moment.
Back in 1992, some 12,000 students were enrolled at then-Northeast Louisiana University, known today as the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Since then, enrollment has plummeted to roughly 7,000 at ULM.
Meanwhile, the university has built the new library, the aviation building, and it has acquired office space on DeSiard Street in the old Palace department store. Also, the university bought the State Farm office building on Bienville, which is located between Tower Drive and Forsythe Avenue.
Along the way, Delta was born. It's a brainchild of former Gov. Buddy Roemer, the self-proclaimed expert on higher education.
Today, Delta can claim some 1,200 students, though the community college has been less than willing to reveal how many of those students are full-time or part-time. Some officials who are familiar with Delta's situation say the full-time enrollment at the community college stands close to 500.
Whatever the full-time enrollment at Delta is, does it warrant tearing down a first-class office building along one of the hottest traffic corridors in north Louisiana to build a new, $30-million-facility for a community college whose enrollment is paltry at best?
Wouldn't it make more sense economically to encourage officials at ULM to make more room available for Delta to use for its instructional activities since enrollment at the university has fallen off in a big way in the past decade or so?
Remember, Delta currently conducts its classes at ULM.
According to Delta officials, they don't have enough room at the university to operate in an environment that's suitable to learning. ULM officials claim they don't have any extra space to offer Delta.
Sounds like a minor tiff over turf and egos to us.
Whatever the case may be at ULM and Delta, the bottom line is state officials have exercised good judgment for a change in revisiting plans for the old State Farm office building.
Now, let's see if local and state officials can really surprise us in convincing a new business or industrial concern to locate at the property, bringing much-needed jobs to northeast Louisiana.