Paula Jacobi, Benedict, Linda F. | 4/19/2005 10:29:15 PM
News Release Distributed 08/25/04
Calling it a "significant event in our evolution and development," William Jenkins, president of the LSU System, and several other dignitaries officially "broke ground" today for the new Louisiana Emerging Technologies Center already under construction on the LSU AgCenter’s campus.
MAPP Construction of Baton Rouge began work several weeks ago on the facility, which will be part of a statewide network of three "wet lab business incubators" partially funded through the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.
"That’s not the most attractive terminology," Jenkins said of the term wet lab.
Thus, the LSU System Research and Technology Foundation, which oversees the facility in Baton Rouge, named it the Louisiana Emerging Technologies Center (LETC). The other two wet labs are in Shreveport, already underway, and New Orleans, still in the planning stages.
The Baton Rouge center will include state-of-the-art laboratories, offices, access to business services and a network of business advisors for start-up technology companies. The LETC will be a three-story, 60,000-square-foot structure in the Italian renaissance design called for in LSU’s Master Plan, according to Paula Jacobi, formerly director of intellectual properties at the LSU AgCenter and now foundation CEO.
The center, at the corner of East Parker and West Lakeshore, is on the site where barns used by the LSU AgCenter for its annual Livestock Show were located. These barns were torn down several months ago, and the show, which occurs every February, has been moved to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
The LETC is expected to be completed by the summer of 2005 for an estimated cost of $12 million. In eight years, the center hopes to help start 50 companies, said Arthur R. Cooper, newly hired as the center’s executive director.
"The center will be a significant piece of the economic landscape of Louisiana," Cooper told the group of about 50 people gathered for the ceremony. "My job is to see that there’s a return on the state’s investment."
Though overseen by LSU System Research and Technology Foundation, the LETC will be accessible to all Louisiana universities and other entrepreneurs, Jenkins said. The center will work closely with other business incubators, including the Louisiana Business and Technology Center, also on the LSU campus.
Jenkins and Kevin Reilly Sr. are co-chairmen of the foundation board, which also includes William B. Richardson, chancellor of the LSU AgCenter; John Rock, chancellor of the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans; and Claude Bouchard, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.