Tell Them We Are Building: Grambling State breaks ground to build on future with Student Services Center

 

GRAMBLING, La. — June 6, 2024 – Grambling State University continued building on its focus of making student service a hallmark of the student experience at GSU with a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning at the site where the Black & Gold Facilities, Inc. will build a Student Services Center.

As the institution seeks to improve its essential student services, GSU believes it is paramount to develop an infrastructure that enables broad outreach by leveraging the assets at its disposal to achieve an enhanced student life experience.

“We gather here to break ground on a beacon of progress, a symbol of our unwavering commitment to student success,” said Grambling State President Dr. Martin Lemelle, Jr. “So, as we assemble here today, and as you depart, I invite you to tell them we’re building.

“Tell them we’re building a place where dreams are nurtured, and futures are forged. This Student Services Center will be the cornerstone of our campus embodying our dedication to the success of every student’s experience. Tell them we’re building a hub of innovation and collaboration with Black and Gold Facilities, Inc.”

The project mission, as articulated by user stakeholders, is laser-focused on positioning students for perpetual success by providing centralized, essential student services and academic services that generate their individual success, iconic identity, pride of space, and enduring loyalty.

To make that happen, Grambling State has partnered with Black and Gold Facilities, Inc. to build a Student Services Center that will strategically shape the functional and physical infrastructure. The structure will create a centralized, collaborative, and safe environment for co-working and learning, which will decidedly remove any operational hurdles and inefficiencies for students, faculty, and staff.

Located on the campus quadrangle in axis with Long Jones Hall, the project seeks to deliver a facility that embodies centralization and intentionality by enabling highly effective interpersonal interaction, engagement, and service delivery resources in a centralized location that will contribute to an enhanced experience for students.

Designed by M3A Architecture, the three-story, 60,000-square foot building will house offices for Campus Living and Housing, the Center for Career and Professional Development, Admissions/Recruitment, the Registrar, and Financial Aid.

 

“This project marks a future that charts a new path for the built environment at Grambling State University,” said GSU Vice President of University Advancement and Innovation Brandon A. Logan.
The Student Services Center’s lighting design will provide an opportunity to use color to celebrate particular milestones and accomplishments by university departments.

“We are creating a space that will eliminate operational hurdles and inefficiencies, paving the way for a seamless interactional experience and engagement,” Dr. Lemelle said. “Tell them we’re building a future where every student has the resources they need to excel. Centralized student services and academic support will be at their fingertips, fostering an iconic identity of pride in space and enduring loyalty to Grambling State University.

“Tell them we’re building on our tradition of excellence. This facility, strategically located on the campus Quad with access to Long Jones Hall, will not only enhance our infrastructure but will also signify our forward progress and visionary outlook. There’s still no vision that’s too big or too bold for Grambling.”

Funding will come through Black and Gold Facilities, Inc; from monies received from the federal government during the COVID 19 pandemic. University of Louisiana System President, Rick Gallot was on hand during the groundbreaking ceremony and thanked Dr. Lemelle, who served as Chief Financial Officer at GSU when Gallot was serving as university president, and current GSU CFO Dr. Edwin Litolff for their financial advice involving the use of the federal funding GSU received.

“I think it’s very important for me to thank President Lemelle and Dr. Litolff as two CFOs who didn’t let me go out and spend all the money,” Gallot said. “They were very conservative, very judicious, and very forward thinking in how we could leverage these dollars that came from Washington during the pandemic that was unprecedented.

“How could we make a lasting mark on this university to the students of today and the future? And it was, again, the fact that they were very conservative in our use of these dollars and because of that we have those federal dollars that will go to the construction of this and an additional project that are not coming out of the state coffers and will not cost the taxpayers of Louisiana any additional money.”

Black and Gold Facilities, Inc. Director Robert Clark said he was thrilled to celebrate such a historic occasion for GSU.

 

“I haven’t been this excited since May of 2010 when we opened the Eddie Robinson Museum, a great day for Grambling,” Clark said. “A while back we received $25 million from Washington D.C. As a result of that, we were given the task of facilitating, planning, designing, developing and constructing a facility on the Grambling State University campus.

“Back in the day when a student had to register, they had to go to four or five different places. This will centralize that. In other words, it’s a one-stop shop. And as we were planning this, we realized a more appropriate name would be a Student Services Center — one building that can accommodate registration, financial aid, housing, counseling, you name it.”

Clark said assembling a strong team leaves him confident that constructing the Student Services Center will be a triumphant achievement.

“We met every Tuesday for months,” Clark said. “It seemed like years. We built an all-star team —- M3A Architecture out of Jackson, Mississippi; Lincoln Builders from two doors down in Ruston, Louisiana — two firms with impeccable credentials. I am more than confident in their abilities in this task before them.

“They have assured me they will come in on top, and within budget. We’ve got $25 million — not $26M, not $27.5M, but $25M. We’ve got a timeframe they’ve ensured me they will meet, and I am comfortable in their abilities to do so.”

As he concluded his remarks, Dr. Lemelle said it’s all about building a stronger future for Grambling State University and its students.

“This development represents the dawn of a new reality, one where our built environment reflects the greatness of Grambling State University,” Dr. Lemelle said. “So, as we stand on this ground today, let us envision the countless students who will walk these halls, engage in transformative learning experiences, and carry the legacy of Grambling State University forward.

“Tell them we’re building dreams. We’re building futures, and Grambling State University.”