ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - While steel rises between 5th and 6th street in Downtown Alexandria, CLTCC's new home is almost finished.
"Our slogan is 'Downtown is the campus'," said CLTCC Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle. "That is formal learning, that is informal learning so that we can take our work base and create an incredible pipeline for the workforce."
The project architects said the three-story, L-shaped building will have plenty of green space and welcoming glass entries.
The project has a sister building going up along the riverfront that will house more industrial majors like welding.
CLEDA, the college and the Chamber of Commerce hope this growth will involve the entire community.
"I hope that there will be more merchants that are attracted to locate downtown," said Cenla Chamber of Commerce President Deborah Randolph. "And that the existing merchants will have possibly discount programs for students."
CLTCC nursing student Titus Sims already enjoys studying at Tamp and Grind, but wants more businesses will follow suit.
"I hope that there are more areas for us to sit for extended periods of time," Sims said. "A lot of places close early and students don't necessarily stop early."
With close to 600 students coming to downtown in the fall, the community was also concerned about safety and parking. They are issues Sawtelle has been working closely on with the city.
"I am glad to say that in the mayor's honeymoon season, being mayor for a little over a month, we have met multiple times about logistics," Sawtelle said. "We have met on safety, we have met on parking and we are going to have something in place for the fall."
As the grand opening gets closer, LSUA is also looking to expand.
"LSUA does have a facility here in downtown," said CLTCC Vice Chancellor of Workforce Misty Slayter. "We look forward to partnering with them and hope their students can also benefit with this growth."
At the end of the day, Sawtelle said it's not just about CLTCC.
"Colleges don't have needs, communities have needs and our students have needs," Sawtelle said. "Joining that workforce, that pipeline of skilled workers with the waiting jobs, that is where the magic happens."