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Construction approved for new Nicholls culinary facility

THIBODAUX – The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University is one step closer to breaking ground on a new, larger campus headquarters.

The Louisiana Bond Commission has authorized $8.1 million for construction near the corner of Bowie Road and Louisiana Highway 1. Final design documents will be completed by Monday, Oct. 1, and university administrators anticipate a groundbreaking by early 2013 with completion expected twelve to eighteen months later.

“This is an exciting time for everyone involved with the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president, said. “After years of planning and anticipation, it will be satisfying for the university community and its friends from throughout the region to watch this newest building come to fruition. I especially want to thank Chef John Folse, who has given so much of his time and support to the institute that bears his name, as well as our regional legislative delegation, including state Sen. Norby Chabert and state Rep. Gordy Dove, for their leadership and support.”

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, sole American partner in the France-based Institut Paul Bocuse Worldwide Alliance, “is already one of the best national bargains in culinary education,” Dr. Al Davis, dean of University College, said. “A four-year culinary degree at Nicholls averages less than $20,000, whereas a student at a private institute can expect to spend $60,000 to $80,000 for the same result. The new facility, with more classroom and kitchen space – as well as updated equipment – will only boost our institute’s strong global reputation for excellence and affordability in culinary education.”

Davis added that some might wonder why the State of Louisiana is investing in a state-of-the-art culinary building while higher education struggles under the strain of significant financial adjustments.

“The answer is simple,” he said. “The future of higher education depends on locating one-of-a-kind programs that will attract students from the state, the nation and throughout the world. Our state government recognizes that the culinary arts program at Nicholls is such a program.”

Chef Randy Cheramie, executive director of the institute, said the new facility will certainly accommodate the program’s growing enrollment.

“As a teacher and as a chef, I couldn’t be happier with the news that construction has been approved,” he said. “Nicholls is already the regional epicenter for culinary arts training, and our faculty members look forward to teaching and mentoring new generations of chefs in our new facility.”

For additional details about the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, go to nicholls.edu/culinary.

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