Southern University Alumni Federation Housing Committee
Picture this. It’s about 5:30 PM in late October at the highest elevation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana along the great Mississippi River. A deep bend creating a magnificent horizontal angle pushes the river water past a very special place called Scott’s Bluff hugging the edge of the historic Southern University A & M College. It was 100 years ago this year that the marriage of the bluff and the school became one. As the beautiful sun begins to set along the western river bank, the special layers of old gold against the columbia blue sky permeate the landscape – shinning like a brilliant panorama touching the heart and soul of the viewer. It’s one thing to observe the experience; it’s another to live, grow, participate and graduate to join the ranks of the prestigious alumni. To walk across this campus as a student is a wondrous experience. To be graduated and have the ability to give back is phenomenal.
As one may remember, the Southern University Alumni Federation became the owner of a 5.032 acre parcel of land located on Scott’s Bluff directly south of Harding Boulevard near the bend at Leon Netterville Drive and near the historical “Red Stick” sculpture. It is on this parcel of land that our Alumni Center has always been envisioned. We are extraordinarily thankful for the financial contributions previously made toward this effort. In 2014, under the leadership of the Southern University Alumni Federation (SUAF) President, Preston Castille, six months of industrious, productive and strategic activity have utilized the voluntary and in-kind resources, wisdom and experience of five talented Southern University Alumni to push forward items necessary for the Alumni Center designated for the 5.032 acre track. These five individuals, with architectural, construction, development and negotiation experience, were carefully appointed by our SUAF President to serve on the housing committee. The housing committee is specifically charged with using their varying and applicable skill sets to perform due diligence on the tasks accomplished to date, and to move forward as expeditiously as possible toward the Alumni Center goal.
Because the land was previously owned by a chemical company called Rhodia, also with other dba names, the housing committee has acquired reports from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) which are carefully being reviewed. The committee has also recommended that the land be professionally evaluated by seasoned environ-mental specialists possibly involving phase I and phase II environmental studies to ensure the land is safe and buildable.
Great effort has been exhausted to explore the best value for each potential dollar invested including, but not limited to, evaluation of written proposals as well as an extensive full day of face – to-face interviews as a result of responses to detailed technical information developed specifically for the environmental issues that should be addressed. Elaborate tabulations have ranked potential entities with whom the committee will enter into negotiation by approval of the SUAF Executive Committee. Please note that no decision has been made on the details of the envisioned Alumni Center. The committee’s focus is currently on addressing any potential environmental concerns. The committee’s immediate goal is to perform due diligence to show that the land is indeed safe.
As this environmental process appropriately unfolds, the committee sincerely makes a plea to our Jaguar Nation: We seek additional Southern University alums who are experienced designers, general contractors, design-build professionals and/or devel-opers who are currently in position to serve as subject matter experts, with the housing committee, to become involved in the sustainable strategic planning, development, design, construction and implementation of our Alumni Center. We believe that the proven expertise we need is within our own alumni. Please respond with your interest, or the recommendation of others, to serve in this Alumni Center planning process to the housing committee chairperson, Lolalisa D. King, AIA, NCARB, LEED-AP at 888- 986-7771. Other dedicated housing committee members include Janet St Cyr Moore, Kestee Weir, III, Thurston (TJ) Jones and Dr. Bob Ford.