NSU announces new expansion and replacement plans for on-campus buildings


Erin Dupree

The new facility to replace Kyser Hall will be named the Robert Alost Academic Building, in honor of Northwestern State University’s 16th president.

On Friday, Aug. 26th, students and faculty of Northwestern State University of Louisiana received an email announcing the new facilities and expansion of existing facilities from the Capital Outlay project.

The Capital Outlay project is a five-year plan for infrastructure and facility improvements that are funded by a state grant program, where money is donated to the university for the project.

All money for the new facilities is expected to come entirely from the Capital Outlay project rather than NSU’s operational budget, which is from the amount students pay for tuition.

NSU was awarded 38 million dollars for the replacement of John S. Kyser Hall, the largest building on NSU’s campus, and 9 million for the expansion of the Athletic Fieldhouse, NSU’s student-athlete facility.

The new facility to replace Kyser Hall will be named the Robert Alost Academic Building, in honor of Northwestern State University’s 16th president.

The Alost Building will be intended for the nursing, math, social work, psychology and English departments.

Thomas Reynolds, head of the Department of English, Foreign Language and Cultural Studies, is glad to see the replacement of Kyser Hall.

“We’re all really excited for the Alost Building is coming up. It has been a while since we have gotten new academic buildings. As long as I’ve been here we’ve been in the same buildings since 1997,” Reynolds said.

Tamara Baxter, assistant professor and coordinator for the Natchitoches campus of nursing, explains the benefits of new equipment for nursing students.

“The new building will give us some much-needed academic space, as well as two state of the art high fidelity simulations labs that will give both our undergraduate and graduate programs the opportunity to learn in a safe environment, practice skills, and develop clinical judgment and critical thinking skills that are vital to be a nurse,” Baxter said.

Clinic space for the psychology and social work departments is to be added in the Alost building as well.

Pre-existing space will be repurposed by other classes and departments that need expansion.

Marcus Jones, the 20th president of NSU, speaks on current updates of renovations and new facilities.

“We are currently in the demolition phase of construction and hope to have a groundbreaking in January or February,” Jones said. “By then it will take about a year or year and a half to finish it.”

The new expansion of the Athletic Fieldhouse will be constructed as a health performance center.

“We are partnering with the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center to provide services to our student-athletes at this facility as well,” Jones said.

The current new facilities and expansion are a part of the Capital Outlay project, which means this won’t be the first or last new construction project in the near future.

“We have around 280 million dollars in Capital Outlay needs, we may shift priorities, but it will remain the same,” Jones said. “We just got funding for Kyser Hall last year, so this is currently the second year of funding we have gotten.”