“Everyone ready? I’m going to cut this thing,” hollered President Frank G. Pogue before giving a countdown, seconds prior to the ribbon cutting of Grambling State University West Campus Annex.
Many gathered at the property Wednesday for the official opening of GSU West Campus.
Previously known as Ruston Developmental Center, the annex is just one mile from where GSU was founded, two miles from the main campus, and on the same street of two historical religious institutions, New Rocky Valley Baptist Church and Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
With a large crowd present for the occasion, including students from Alma J. Brown Elementary and Grambling High School, the excitement was felt among all.
The beginning ceremony was entertaining as the World Famed Tiger Marching Band performed the National anthem and Dr. Pogue greeted guests.
Provost Dr. Connie Walton gave the audience a synopsis of the benefits of the property. “This ceremony is the inauguration of the GSU campus west annex. This property includes houses, classrooms, administrative type buildings, greenhouses, structures that served as housing for prisoners of war, a pond, gymnasium, cafeteria and a track,” said Dr. Walton.
The variety presents an abundance of opportunities for GSU to expand services to better help students, faculty and staff.
Grambling has grown from 375 acres to 532 acres seems like over night. The square feet increased from 1.5 million to 1.8 million square feet.
Vice President of student affairs Dr. Stacey Duhon addressed briefly ways Grambling will be occupying the location.
“We will be putting together a committee.”
She mentioned transition housing for new faculty members that do not have housing. There has been suggestions for intramural football and softball for the site, along with a skating rink.
Academics were the most important thing she spoke about. “The green house will be used for biological offerings. The prisoner of war will be used as a war sight museum, so that people can come see about the history of the location.”
The most intriguing speaker was the honorable Richard “Rick” Gallot. After greeted He mentioned first that he was only allowed two minutes to speak, which brought laughter to all. “If I had more than two minutes I would probably shift into political mode”, he said.
“After Dr. Pogue and Mr. Leon Sanders brought the idea of acquiring this facility which of course had been a vacancy, we jumped at the idea to do the legislative part of getting this done. I applaud my colleague Rep. Patrick Jefferson for handling the bill on the house side. I am truly excited about everything that is happening and the future of Grambling, ” said Gallot.
President Pogue sent special thanks to Gallot who sponsored the Louisiana Legislature, Bill 583, Act 236 that led to the legislative approval and also Representative Patrick Jefferson for strong support.
Robby Robinson, Wayne Parker, and presidential colleagues were also thanked on several moments throughout the ceremony.
It is recognized that Grambling has been given the opportunity to expand. Eight Bungalows, five rooms in each not to mention the four bedroom houses and maintenance shops that may hold their own facilities employees.
For students living in the bungalows and houses they are well taken care of with washer and dryer, kitchen, large open lounge, and back decks.
Junior Irikeas Bellock from New Orleans said , “I really like it. More space, more privacy I just do not like staying on the main campus.”
One of the advantages that Bellock has is owning a vehicle. Majority of college students do not have transportation, however there is a shuttle designated to west campus that runs Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
With the new streets and 47 buildings, Dr. Pogue intends to name the buildings so that it will tie into Gramblings History along with dining halls and conference rooms.