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Louisiana Tech Master Plan 2020: The Ruston Link

February 25, 2016

 

PG 3

“Tech Green” and the new Enterprise campus will connect more with Ruston’s downtown area.

The final part of the series discusses how building a stronger connection with the Ruston community will bring students a better academic experience along with plans to renovate and construct new residence halls, academic buildings and to install a greener campus.

 

PAYTON POTTER

Staff Reporter| jpp017@latech.edu

 

As the westernmost parts of Louisiana Tech’s campus evolve into the Enterprise Campus, the lines between campus and downtown Ruston will begin to blur.

 

Jim King said the university and downtown Ruston aim to become unified.

Different changes to campus will come together to form the Master Plan 2020.

Different changes to campus will come together to form the Master Plan 2020.

 

“Everyone envisions that the two entities will be more seamless,” said King, vice president for student advancement. “Where the university stops and the historic downtown ends will not be as clearly defined as it is developed.”

 

King said he thinks the involvement and synergy between Tech and Ruston will help with recruiting.

 

“I believe that good students will choose good universities, but it doesn’t stop there,” he said. “They look at the surrounding area, the amenities, the safety, the conveniences and the entertainment. That’s a part of their decision to come spend four or five years of their lives studying at a university.”

 

King said one benefit of a stronger relationship between Tech and Ruston is the potential for increased diversity in the community.

 

“If we start inviting students from 70 countries around the world, and they’re spending four or five years here, and they’re a part of our community and our school – sharing their culture – that’s a tremendous opportunity,” King said.

 

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker said the city intends to fund new infrastructure to accommodate the growth of the university pending the election of a proposal titled “Moving Ruston Forward.”

 

“As Tech continues to grow, it is our job as a city to provide the infrastructure to make that possible,” he said. “To have a growing community, you’ve got to have the infrastructure – especially the streets.”

 

Walker said “Moving Ruston Forward” is a 20-year, $120-million plan involving water lines, sewer lines, street and drainage rehabilitation, the creation of a new sports complex, animal shelter and bike trails throughout the city.

 

“The first $80 million will be raised in the first 10 years,” Walker said. “That’s huge for a city our size. It’s a bold and aggressive plan, but something we feel like we have to do to get us where we have to be.”

 

Freshman family and child studies major Allison Hoskins said she thinks bike trails would give students a safer way to get to campus.

 

“Riding on the roads is so dangerous, especially on bikes,” she said. “(Bike trails) will definitely make people feel more comfortable to get downtown on their bikes.”

 

She said more integration between the city and university would encourage her to spend more time in downtown.

 

“I would definitely go out to eat more and interact with people outside of campus,” Hoskins said. “Especially if there were more places like The Depot and Parish Press.”

 

Walker said he is working to make Ruston the best it can be.

 

“We want to be the greatest college town on I-20 from Dallas to Atlanta,” he said.”We’re already a great city; we want to be the greatest.”

 

Walker said he encourages students to email him at mayor@ruston.org with their ideas for Ruston.

 

“We are recruiting restaurants and fast food places to come here, but we need to know what students want,” he said. “They can’t throw an idea out that is too wild for me.”

 

For more information on Tech’s Master Plan 2020 visit http://www.latech.edu/masterplan

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