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Southern students fight gateway project, want to see structural fixes first

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BATON ROUGE – Southern University students are concerned about funding a project designed to "beautify" the campus, while other parts of the grounds are still in need of repair.

Jaguar running-back Lenard Tillery, is among the critics of "The Gateway Project." He wrote an opinion piece criticizing the plan, that would have students footing the bill.

"Come and fill it with gravel and rocks or something like that, that's a temporary solution," Tillery said.

Tillery said the university is using more and more temporary fixes to solve structural issues. Buildings are in disarray, and potholes cover the streets. He is looking for a way to make improvements.

The university's "Gateway Project" was proposed nearly a decade ago. It's an archway designed to welcome visitors and students, and they wanted student fees to cover some of the costs.

Wednesday night, the students voted the plan down, making the university look at other funding sources to complete the project.    

"I was in favor, I would love to have an arc on campus, but when I went around talking to students about it, trying to raise awareness, making sure people vote, a lot of students voiced their concern for other problems on campus," Tillery said.

Their concern, is money, and the things that money could be used to fix, instead of funding this project. Fixing eroding land along the Mississippi River, a popular hang-out for students, was an idea.
"The students are going to come in, with the same mind I had, trying to come and better themselves, so why not give back why not try to make a better future," Tillery said.

Right now projects like fixing potholes, would come from state funding, but with possible cuts coming down the pipeline, Tillery said the students want to help, and want to know how they can do it.  
"As students, can we put a referendum on our next bill of statement.. can we raise money, can we call alumni, say he we need X amount of dollars to fill these potholes," Tillery said.     
Southern University told WBRZ News Two the Archway will be built eventually. They will just have to raise funds first. The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million.


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