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La. Tech introduces Master Plan 2020

by Minden Press-Herald

Editor’s Note: This is the first part in a five-part series on the new changes coming to Louisiana Tech University’s campus in the next decade.

RUSTON — As Louisiana Tech grows, students should expect to see several changes on and around the campus, including building demolitions, ground breakings for new academic and residential buildings and improved parking.
University President Les Guice has announced the spring ground breaking for 14 new on-campus apartment buildings and an approximately 130,000–square foot integrated engineering and sciences education building.
In addition to the upcoming construction, he listed a number of campus improvements including planting trees, renovating or demolishing aging buildings and improving parking, all to increase enrollment.

The master plan, a document that guides the future for Tech, also details intentions to renovate the student center and to develop a “Tech Green.”
Jim King, vice president for student advancement, said the green will be three or four times the size of the current quadrangle. When the green is completed, it will create a place for students to gather and maneuver throughout the main campus, the upcoming “Enterprise Campus” and into downtown Ruston.
The green, which Guice described as the core of campus, will extend from the steps of Keeny Hall to Mayfield Ave.

In addition, a number of roadways extending east from Keeny Hall will be altered to give students ease when walking or biking from campus to downtown.

As the green is developed, the building currently housing the bookstore is slated to be demolished and relocated.

King also described plans to give on-campus parking a $3 million facelift.
The restructured parking will reduce the number of cars passing through campus, promote more efficient foot traffic and redirect vehicles towards the perimeter of campus.

The city of Ruston will also make extensive changes to better accommodate the growth of Tech and to refocus commerce into the downtown area.

Ruston mayor Ronny Walker said he hopes that upcoming changes such as free public Wi–Fi in the downtown area, bicycle lanes throughout the city and the addition of a student-centric “Bulldog Village” will help bring new life to downtown while encouraging Ruston residents to get more involved in Tech activities.

“One of the planks of my platform was the fact that we needed to quit being a city with a college in it, but become a true college town,” Walker said.
He thinks the upcoming changes will make his vision a reality.

According to the website of Tipton Associates, one of the architecture companies working with Tech and the city of Ruston, commerce in the city of Ruston has moved away from the center of town.

The city hopes to renew commerce in southern Ruston areas such as campus and the historic downtown.

These changes aim not only to create updated spaces for students to live and study, but also to unite the campus with the city of Ruston, create new academic opportunities in cross-discipline fields, and increase student enrollment to 15,000 by the year 2020.

“This is going to be magnificent,” Guice said.

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