Southern University launches new infrastructure, enrollment plan
BATON ROUGE- Southern University and A&M College launched a new initiative to plan for the future of the university and surrounding community.
The university released a statement Thursday afternoon, explaining the comprehensive plan. It focuses on increasing enrollment and upgrading infrastructure while expanding the university’s support of the local community.
In collaboration with East Baton Rouge Parish officials, Scotlandville community leaders, Southern alumni, students, faculty, administration and community neighbors, efforts are underway to seek out community input that is representative of the diversity of the community.
The 12-month planning process will offer a variety of opportunities to become involved and remain engaged throughout the project, according to the statement.
“We are excited to embark upon this interactive plan for not only our campus but also this community,” Ray L. Belton, president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University Baton Rouge said.
“Southern has a great responsibility to be instrumental in advancements of North Baton Rouge, which welcomed us here in 1914. We are proud to call it home. This plan will also be a gateway to better relationships between the university and its constituents, including our surrounding neighborhoods.”
This planning effort is preceded by others undertaken for Southern and the surrounding area over the last decade.
Southern University Communications Director Janene Tate says, "The current planning effort will build upon recommendations and successes of past plans and make future recommendations based on current conditions and opportunities that will guide the University and surrounding neighborhoods into the future."
"Southern University leadership supports the planning effort as the key to creating an environment that is most conducive to learning and positioning the university to do more to catalyze economic development in North Baton Rouge."
Representatives from the Southern University System Foundation have selected CPEX, a statewide nonprofit planning organization, to lead the project.
The goal is to develop an integrated plan and implementation strategy for both the university and its surrounding community to build Southern University’s size and reach within the community.
"When completed, SU and the Scotlandville community will have a comprehensive and visionary document complete with a campus master plan, an updated neighborhood plan, and an implementation strategy that identifies community improvement priorities and establishes a path toward immediate implementation," Tate said.
Chris Tyson with Build Baton Rouge said, “I would like to see the plan help to advance community development at a more robust and coordinated level in Scotlandville and North Baton Rouge. I would also like to see Southern University solidified as a community anchor.”
Southern University’s flagship campus will be the main focus, expanding outward toward I-110. Site-specific detail will be provided for corridors along Harding Blvd, Swan St, Scotland Ave, and Scenic Hwy.
Collaboration with the SU Alumni Federation, the SU System Foundation, residents and business owners, local high school students and faculty, elected officials, community leaders, alumni, and students are all important elements to ensure that the plan outcomes are aligned with the needs of the stakeholders, Tate said.