The University of Louisiana Monroe will break ground for the new Foundation and Alumni Affairs Center at 4400 Bon Aire will be at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 13.
To be built on the site of the former Anna Gray Noe Alumni Center on Bayou DeSiard, the new facility will house the ULM Foundation and Alumni Affairs staff and will greet friends and alumni of the university when they come back to campus.
The two-story building will be approximately 9,500 square feet with 6,748 square feet heated. It is expected to open in the summer of 2018.
“We are grateful to the Foundation and Alumni Association for having the foresight to begin planning several years ago for this beautiful facility,” said President Nick J. Bruno. “I want to encourage everyone to join the Alumni Association and support the Foundation. You are instrumental to the success of these projects and this new facility is a perfect example of what people can accomplish together.”
In 2014, the ULM Foundation began discussing renovations to the Anna Gray Noe Alumni Center, which was built in 1974. However, the estimated costs to renovate the existing structure to meet building codes and needed functionality exceeded the cost of new construction.
A fundraising campaign to build a new facility – at an estimated cost of $1.5 million – began and requests for proposals were issued. In March Blue Heron Homes, L.L.C., was selected as the contractor for the design-build project. Catalyst Design, L.L.C., is the architectural firm.
Upon the expected approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors later this month, the new facility will be named the Laird-Weems Center to honor the contributions and achievements of Billy Laird and the late Don Weems to the university.
Laird, who served as executive director of the ULM Foundation for over 30 years and Weems, alumni director for almost as many years, established the vision to engage and serve alumni, friends and benefactors of ULM.
Financing for the new facility is through private donations and naming opportunities. For each gift of at least $1,000, a brick will be placed with inscription selected by the donor.