GSU Gets Funding Approval For Health-Wellness Facility

GRAMBLING, La. (June 24, 2014) Grambling State University students will once again have a campus facility where they can work out, attend exercise sessions and swim in a building of their own.

Grambling State President Frank G. Pogue announced that the institution has received final, official approval to renovate a 33,279-square-foot building constructed in 1993 and a natatorium. The existing intramural building continues to be used with limitations because it has not had significant renovations since it was built. The natatorium, however, is unusable with a dry swimming pool, broken windows throughout the facility and what Pogue describes as “a condition that makes a ‘horrible’ sound kind.”

“I found a lot of good things at Grambling State University when I first got here in 2009, but the natatorium was not one of them,” said Pogue. “The place has been an eyesore for years, and students complained about it all the time, and with good reason.

“It has taken a lot of work on the parts of a lot of people to get to this point, but getting all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed and making sure that every single thing was in place financially was what we needed to do to make sure that we could announce something that will truly happen. We can say that this will happen.”

The new facility will include an indoor swimming pool, an aerobics and multipurpose room, an expanded basketball court and a convenience store and juice bar. The Foster-Johnson Health Center will move into the new facility. The $7 million construction is being financed with student assessment fees that started in 2011, meaning the project has a specific funding source.

The university went through an extensive pre-construction and financing process to gain the appropriate approvals. Just last week the university received a project number, authorizing the institution to proceed to the next phase. GSU is working with state of Louisiana’s Facility, Planning and Control to select an architect for the project. A construction timetable, including a proposed opening month or season, will be provided after an architect has been approved and gets to work.

“All of these things go through a state process, and we’ll do everything we need to do to make sure this gets off to a good start and gets done,” said Leon Sanders, vice president for finance and administration, explaining next steps.

Ante’ Britten, associate vice president of finance and administration, has been charged with shepherding the project to this point, working closely with the HBCU Capital Financing Program, which provides low-cost capital to finance improvements to the infrastructure of the nation's historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Britten thanked the university’s staff, attorneys and system office for assisting the university with an extensive financial process to ensure a successful effort. “Without a well-coordinated effort, the path toward final approval wouldn’t have been as smooth as it’s been,” he said. “This project will be state-of-the-art and it allows GSU to offer a holistic health and wellness program.”

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