LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has taken the first step toward a significant expansion.
The university has announced it has purchased 19.2 acres from Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. The school said it will use the land – adjacent to the University and formerly the site of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center – for a new health sciences campus.
The acquisition “further enables the fulfillment of the vision the University has for advancing health care in our region,” said Joseph Savoie, university president.
The purchase also moves UL Lafayette closer to uniting the main campus with University Research Park and the athletics complex, a goal of its 2012 Master Plan, according to officials.
The agreement between the University and Lourdes was finalized Feb. 28. The $9 million cash sale includes buildings and four properties:
- 17.305 undeveloped acres at the corner of St. Landry and St. Julien streets.
- Slightly over 1 acre on St. Louis Street that’s the site of a parking garage.
- A .720-acre tract at St. Landry and St. Julien streets containing a parking lot.
- A .196-acre lot at St. Landry and St. Thomas streets with an office building.
Donna Landry, Our Lady of Lourdes’ chief operating officer, said the property UL Lafayette acquired “carries a legacy of service to the region that will continue under the University’s stewardship.”
“In 1949, Bishop Jeanmard called the new Lourdes hospital ‘a great blessing to fill the long felt need in Lafayette,’” Landry said. “Today, those sentiments continue to resonate knowing our legacy campus will be a place where generations of future nurses and other health professionals come to train. We are honored to be part of this blessing for Acadiana.”
This 19.2-acre acquisition from Lourdes is separate from an additional purchase UL Lafayette finalized in June of last year. That agreement – between the University and the Diocese of Lafayette – was for 5.834 acres at West St. Mary Boulevard and St. Landry Street.
This tract contains medical office buildings and other facilities that were part of the Lourdes hospital complex that will form the nucleus of the University’s new health sciences campus, officials said. The school has begun renovations in one of the structures, the St. Francis Building; some upper-level students enrolled in the College of Nursing & Health Sciences are scheduled to take classes there starting in the fall semester.
Savoie noted that the two acquisitions increase the size of UL Lafayette’s campus by more than 25 acres; over 23 of those acres – from West St. Mary Boulevard to St. Julien Street – are contiguous.
“The possibilities these acres hold are extraordinary,” he said, and enable the University to pursue multiple objectives.
“We want to increase the number of nursing and health sciences students we enroll and graduate; expand degree programs; enhance existing partnerships with health providers and build others; create collaborations with professional schools and health systems; and deepen relationships with biomedical and biopharmaceutical firms,” Savoie said. “Acquiring this additional property puts those goals within reach, and we are fortunate to have a partner like Our Lady of Lourdes that recognizes the potential this acreage holds for the future of health care in our region and beyond.”