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Jul 16, 2013
Governor Jindal Highlights $2 million Gift from RoyOMartin and The Martin Family for New State-of-the-Art LSU Engineering Complex

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal highlighted a $2 million gift committed by RoyOMartin and the Martin family for the new Engineering Complex at LSU. This donation will further support the $100 million public-private partnership that Governor Jindal announced last October to renovate and expand Patrick F. Taylor Hall, creating a new state-of-the-art engineering education complex. The Jindal Administration has supported $50 million in capital outlay funding for the project, with the remaining funds covered by private donations. To date, the engineering school has already raised $30 million for the project, including the $2 million gift from RoyOMartin and the Martin family.

The new and renovated engineering complex will include expanded, modern laboratory space for teaching as well as translational research, enhanced and expanded space for student services, updated graduate student space, an academic support center, and dedicated capstone project space and other multi-disciplinary space for student projects. Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2014 and is estimated to be completed by the fall of 2017.   

Governor Jindal said, “I’m proud to be back at LSU to highlight this $2 million gift from RoyOMartin and the Martin family for the new Engineering Complex. This complex will go a long way in continuing Louisiana’s economic momentum and further strengthening our workforce. For more than five years, Louisiana’s economy has continued to grow and we have repeatedly been ranked at the top of national rankings for business climate. These are signs of incredible progress. But, we cannot rest on our laurels. We cannot become complacent if we truly want to make Louisiana the best place in the world to raise a family and find a job. That’s why we need to build on our progress and make sure Louisiana remains competitive and attractive to companies looking to invest and create jobs.  That means having a workforce with world-class skills.

“Making sure we have the most skilled workforce in the world so we can attract the jobs of the future starts at our flagship university. Just like we want LSU to be number one on the field, we want it to be ranked number one in the classroom. That means making LSU a magnet to attract the best and brightest students, teachers and researchers from all over the world.  That in turn will make a strong LSU and a strong LSU means a strong Louisiana.”

Prior to the construction of the new business school complex, the LSU College of Engineering had access to about 168,000 square feet in Taylor Hall.  With the renovation of Taylor Hall, as well as the addition of a new annex dedicated to chemical engineering, the total amount of first-class academic space for the LSU College of Engineering will now grow to more than 350,000 square feet – an increase of more than 100 percent.

The Governor highlighted the importance of the new engineering education complex in terms of the role the new facility will play in growing a skilled workforce in the areas of engineering, construction management and computer science. The LSU College of Engineering currently graduates roughly 625 bachelor’s graduates per year, ranking it in the top 10 percent nationally for graduates. LSU is the largest degree-granting engineering program in Louisiana, accounting for roughly 50 percent of all engineering and construction management graduates in the state. 

Governor Jindal said, “Workforce estimates published by the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Louisiana Board of Regents suggest that we will need to increase the number of our engineering and construction management graduates statewide by at least 30 percent per year, or roughly 330 more graduates per year statewide across all institutions, just to meet current demand. This new Engineering Complex will help us do that as well as excel in engineering and computer science related education.”

"We're proud to help contribute to the $100 million public-private partnership supported by Governor Bobby Jindal and LSU for renovating and expanding the Patrick F. Taylor Campus. LSU has served our family for three generations, and we are thrilled to be a part of the success of the LSU College of Engineering," said Roy O. Martin III. "As our company celebrates its 90th year in business, we reflect on the positive impact LSU has had on our family, employees, and community. We trust that others will join us in this effort of support. This is a great day for the future of LSU."

LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander said, “We thank the Martin family for their generous commitment to the LSU College of Engineering, as well as their years of support to LSU in so many ways. Meeting the demand for high-quality engineers is a priority for our state and for LSU. This expansion will provide a first-class facility for our students and will ensure continued success.”

Governor Jindal said Louisiana’s software and digital media sector is taking off, with companies like EA, Gameloft, Pixomondo, GE Capital, CenturyLink, TurboSquid, IBM and others collectively planning to add many hundreds of computer science grads over the next few years. The Governor said a good example is IBM’s decision to bring an 800-job technology center to Baton Rouge, which will provide great job opportunities for LSU engineering and computer science students. For the IBM partnership, the Jindal Administration supported $14 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher-education programs to increase the number of annual computer science graduates. At least 65 percent of these funds will be used to expand the Computer Science Division of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at LSU. This support will allow LSU to double its computer science faculty and triple the number of computer science graduates in five years, which will place the LSU Computer Science program in the top 10-15 nationally for the number of B.S. degrees in computer science awarded annually.

Along with the planned infrastructure investments in state-of-the art facilities, the College of Engineering created a new School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The Governor said this further reflects the significant growth expected in the software development, digital media, and digital and social gaming technology sectors in Louisiana. 

LED also expects that Louisiana is going to see growth in manufacturing as more companies begin to place manufacturing investments in the U.S. again. The Governor said, “We expect LSU’s engineering school will need to increase its annual production of graduates by 150 to 275 graduates per year over the next few years, making today’s announcement a critical investment for the future of LSU and our state.”

The Governor also thanked Phyllis Taylor who donated $15 million for the new engineering complex, as well as Chevron, Dow Chemical, Ron Cambre, and the Harry and Norma Longwell family who also committed private support for the project.

Since 2008, the Jindal Administration has invested more than $700 million dollars for critical higher education infrastructure investments. This total includes more than $150 million invested at LSU and the Baton Rouge research community. 

 
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