Lamar State College-Orange held a makeshift groundbreaking ceremony inside its Student Center this past Thursday morning, instead of the location of its new multipurpose facility, due to weather. The multipurpose center will be located at the former location of the Texas Workforce Commission at Green Avenue and Second Street in Orange. Pictured, from left to right, are Jerry Vandervoort, SpawGlass; Senator Robert Nichols, District 3; Dr. Michael Shahan, President of Lamar State College-Orange; Representative Dade Phelan, District 21; and Alan Stilts, PBK Architects. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

The acquisition of a new building will help Lamar State College-Orange provide the best education opportunities possible for students for years to come.

Lamar State College-Orange held a special groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, June 2, as the school unveiled its plans on its latest acquisition to continue to provide students with the best educational opportunities it can.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held inside the LSC-O Student Center, due to weather issues, but the purpose of the event was to celebrate the school’s new multipurpose facility. Earlier this year LSC-O acquired the vacant Texas Workforce Commission facility which is located on Green Avenue at Second Street in downtown Orange.

“We needed this building for two reasons,” said Dr. Michael Shahan, president of Lamar State College-Orange. “First, we needed a large, flexible space for meetings and events, but, more importantly, we have a desperate need for modern classrooms with the technology available that our faculty demanded, and this building will give us that. It will allow us to get out of some substandard spaces too.”

According to Shahan, the meeting space will be flexible and allow LSC-O, as well as the community, access to a facility which can accommodate up to 700 people for lecture events, or as many as 400 people for banquet-type event. It could also be subdivided into approximately three smaller meeting rooms if needed.

The new multi-purpose building will include new office space for staff, and a total of seven new classrooms with the latest technology available.

“This event is a real milestone for this campus,” Shahan added. “This building will let us have a real first class facility for our students and staff and for the community.”

Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony was definitely an important occassion, as evidenced by the attendance of elected officials, Senator Robert Nichols (Texas-District 3) and Representative Dade Phelan (Texas-District 21), both of whom Shahan acknowledged for making sure funding for the college was available for the work needed to accomplish this project.

“It’s exciting to see a new facility like this, especially for me, being a Lamar (University) graduate,” Nichols said. “It’s obvious how important this facility is to the college and to the community. It’s a big day for Orange.”

Phelan agreed.

“This project was a no-brainer, and it was important to get done for the community,

Phelan said. “This is just the latest piece of the puzzle, with the Allied Health Program and the new maritime program, for Lamar State College-Orange.”

The project is just part of a $100 million group of projects which was approved by the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System this past February. The projects include work at Lamar State College-Orange, Lamar State College-Port Arthur, Lamar Institute of Technology and Lamar University.

Shahan said work on the newly acquired facility should begin by mid-to-late June and is expected to be completed by July 2017, which is just in time to open for the fall semester of 2017.

It will be built at an elevation of 11-feet, which is 1.5 feet above the required FEMA regulations, and the cost of the project is expected to be approximately $12.3 million for the 32,000 square-foot facility.

The acquisition of the property was made possible by the Lamar State Colllege-Orange Foundation, which is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which works on behalf of LSC-O.

According to the LSC-O website, the LSC-O Foundation’s efforts focus on two major areas of need, which are scholarships and capital improvements. The Foundation has played a direct or indirect role in acquiring all real estate which now constitutes the downtown campus.