Development of the College and the Locations
Delgado Community College is an institution of higher education managed by the Board of Supervisors for Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges. Located in the center of the metropolitan area surrounding New Orleans, the College serves approximately 15,000 credit students each semester and another 8,000 non-credit students each year. With a full-time faculty of about 400, Delgado is one of the largest institutions of higher education in Louisiana. September 2016 marked Delgado’s 95th anniversary.
The original benefactor of the College was Isaac Delgado, a 19th-century Jamaican immigrant who became a wealthy New Orleans businessman and sugar planter. Among the beneficiaries of his philanthropy were the arts, medicine, and education. In a 1909 codicil to his will, Mr. Delgado bequeathed the residue of his estate to the City of New Orleans to establish a manual trade school for young boys. With funds from this bequest, land was purchased for the current 57-acre City Park Campus adjacent to New Orleans Municipal City Park. The original building on City Park Avenue was constructed and furnished with the bulk of the bequest. In September of 1921, Delgado Central Trades School opened its doors with a program of vocational trades for 1,300 boys and young men. After thriving in the 1920s, Delgado was left without adequate funding during the years of the Great Depression. Revived during World War II by the need for technically skilled workers in aircraft construction and maintenance, and in the metal and woodworking trades, Delgado had a brief period of glory in the 1940s, only to once again fall into desperate financial straits during the 1950s.
In the mid-50s, under the leadership of Director Marvin E. Thames Sr., Delgado began to search for a new mission and adequate funding. In 1956-1957, Tulane University conducted a survey of Delgado’s role and scope in the changing local economy. Its recommendations included the following: Delgado should be expanded to a technical institute at the junior college level; its main function should be to provide post-high school educational programs for technicians; and the school should be properly funded. The recommendations were adopted by the Delgado Board of Managers and the New Orleans City Council. As a result, the name of the institution was changed to Delgado Trades and Technical Institute, and a technical two-year college program was implemented. In 1960, the first graduates of Delgado Institute received their college degrees.
By action of the Louisiana State Legislature and the New Orleans City Council, in 1966 Delgado Institute became Isaac Delgado College and then Delgado Vocational-Technical Junior College and was recognized and approved as a model multi-campus, comprehensive community/junior college for Louisiana. Dr. Thames became its first president. Four years later, in 1970, Act 446 of the State Legislature (based on a 1969 New Orleans City Council Resolution) transferred control of Delgado College from the City of New Orleans to the Louisiana State Board of Education. Delgado was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1971; the accreditation was reaffirmed in 1975, 1986, 1996, 2008, and 2016. The College name was changed to Delgado Community College by Legislative act in 1980. In 1982 the central administration of the College was moved into a new building at 501 City Park Avenue, adjacent to the City Park Campus. Since the early 1970s, with state funding for students and facilities, not only has the original City Park Campus developed dramatically, but other new campuses and learning sites have brought Delgado Community College to all areas of metropolitan New Orleans.
City Park Campus
Centrally located on City Park Avenue, the City Park Campus serves the urban area of the city of New Orleans. This campus is the original site of Delgado Community College and remains the largest campus, with approximately 10,000 students. Delgado offers 33 associate degree programs, and more than 80 certificate and technical diploma options, and around 200 non-credit courses in areas that include professional and workforce development, intensive services, and continuing education.
The City Park Campus consists of more than 19 buildings that house classrooms, laboratories, and support areas. Two major buildings were constructed and opened in 1970: the Francis E. Cook Building, and the Moss Memorial Library Building, which was demolished following severe damage from Hurricane Katrina.
During the 1980s, many of the facilities on the City Park Campus were expanded and renovated. In 1981, the first phase of a complete renovation of Isaac Delgado Hall was completed. In this phase, a three-story structure was built to fill in the original building’s central courtyard, valuable lecture and laboratory facilities were added, and the south wing was renovated to include a splendid art gallery. In late 1984, renovations were finished on the east and west wings, and in 1987 all other Delgado Hall renovations were finished.
Until 1982, Delgado’s central administrative offices were in two buildings on the City Park Campus. In early 1982, a new administration building was opened on the periphery of the City Park Campus. This facility centralized the College’s administrative functions and freed considerable office and classroom space on the City Park Campus.
In early 1984, the Henry S. Braden Sr. Vocational Technical Center, located adjacent to Delgado Hall, was completed. This three-story technical shop complex contains the Adam R. Haydel Sr. Automotive Lab and other buildings used for College operations and services.
In the 1990s, extensive renovations were completed on the City Park Campus. A gymnasium in the Michael L. Williamson Building allows the Delgado basketball teams to play home games on campus. Additionally, the City Park Campus is a leader in telecommunications, with a fiber optic network that connects several hundred computers across the campus.
Responding to developments in higher education across the country, the success of comprehensive community colleges in workforce education, the documented success of community college graduates, and the need to manage physical and capital resources, in 1997 the Louisiana Legislature enacted legislation merging the Louisiana Technical College-New Orleans Campus and Delgado Community College. Subsequent legislation and a constitutional amendment created a community and technical college system, which currently includes Delgado Community College and six other community colleges, four community and technical colleges, and two technical colleges. All report to a management Board of Supervisors, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors, effective July 1, 1999. The purpose of the 1997 legislation, Act 917, was to merge the “Orleans Regional Technical Institute” (LTC-NOC) with Delgado Community College effective July 1, 1997, and to transfer “the funds, property, obligations, programs, and functions” of LTC-NOC from the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Delgado. The building housing the LTC-NOC and the property on Navarre and Orleans Avenues have been incorporated into the City Park Campus as Building 2. This building is a multi-functional classroom, laboratory, administrative, and faculty office building of more than 150,000 square feet, including centralized student services offices.
In May 2015, H. Giles Martin Hall was opened to house digital media, small business, and entrepreneurship programs. Martin Hall is named for H. Giles Martin, Delgado’s first director and longest-tenured leader, serving from 1920 until 1954. The building was funded by state bonds authorized through Act 391.
In September 2015, the Marvin E. Thames, Sr. Learning Resources Center was opened. Thames Hall is a 60,000-square-foot learning resources center that houses the College’s Moss Memorial Library and the College’s Adult Education classrooms and offices.
Delgado Charity School of Nursing
The Delgado Charity School of Nursing, which has been in continuous operation since 1894, joined with Delgado Community College in 1990 to develop a new Nursing program offering an associate of science degree. The school quickly reached full capacity enrollment of 500 students. In December 1992, 118 students graduated, the first class with an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. Upholding the proud heritage of nursing education upon which this new program was modeled, the Delgado Charity School of Nursing offers excellence in nursing education and a strong commitment to serve the citizens of the State of Louisiana.
In the 1997 merger of the Louisiana Technical College, New Orleans Campus, with Delgado Community College, the Practical Nursing Program was incorporated into the administrative structure of the School of Nursing. The Delgado Charity School of Nursing is located in downtown New Orleans and is part of the city’s major medical complex. The Education Building, completed in 1972, houses classrooms, an audiovisual center (including a television studio), a library, conference rooms, and faculty and administrative offices.
Act 521 of the 2010 Regular Louisiana Legislative Session authorized the transfer of all programs and courses of study offered through the former campuses of the Louisiana Technical College Region 1 to Delgado Community College, along with relative funds, facilities, property, obligations and functions in August 2010. As a result, Delgado’s newly created Technical Division became the seventh academic division in Delgado Community College.
With the new division, Delgado is better positioned to offer residents of the New Orleans region a comprehensive program of transfer, technical and occupational programs, customized workforce development training, and adult and continuing education programs and services. Through the Technical Division, students have access to about 20 occupational training and apprenticeship programs.
The Technical Division provides innovative training through its two “Centers of Excellence” at the Jefferson Site. The Practical Nursing (PN) and Allied Health Center of Excellence features extensive classroom and laboratory space with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence has a fully equipped laboratory with Integrated Systems Technology (IST) that combines hands-on skills training with curriculum. Offerings at the Centers of Excellence include industry-based certifications, simulated and virtual training and online multimedia access. These Centers of Excellence are the first of their kind in Louisiana.
The Sidney Collier Site
The hurricane-damaged Sidney Collier Technical College campus in New Orleans became part of Delgado Community College in April 2010, when Louisiana Technical College Region 1 merged with Delgado. Before Hurricane Katrina, Sidney Collier’s enrollment approached 1,000 students, the highest of all Region 1 schools. By opening the new Sidney Collier Site in Fall 2014, Delgado is helping to revitalize the Louisa Street neighborhood and all of New Orleans East by serving as a pathway for residents to obtain job skills and employment. Curriculum is aligned with community needs and interests. A ground breaking ceremony for the rebuilding of the site was held April 26, 2013.
Funds to build the Delgado Sidney Collier Site total $21 million, with $12 million provided through the State of Louisiana and $9 million through FEMA. The site consists of two phases, the first financed by the state and the second by the federal government. Construction of the state-funded phase of the project began in May 2013 and ended in Fall 2014. Construction of the federally financed phase began in June 2014 and concluded in May 2015. The site is anchored by two conjoined two-story buildings with a main entrance facing the corner of Louisa Street and Higgins Boulevard. The state-funded part of the site includes 36,000 square feet of space for classrooms, offices, and support functions such as information technology. The federally funded facility offers 25,000 square feet dedicated to student services, including a library, student government offices, classrooms, workshops, and laboratories. The design includes a courtyard, dedicated space for future expansion, and approximately 100,000 square feet of landscaped grounds and parking.
A key part of the new site design is a structure and programs that will connect the Delgado Sidney Collier Site with students at nearby George Washington Carver High School. Carver students will be able to take advantage of dual enrollment at Delgado, enabling them to broaden their educational experiences and earn credits toward career credentials faster.
West Bank Campus
The West Bank Campus serves students from several adjacent parishes, including Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles, and St. John. The Campus currently serves about 3,000 students enrolled in a variety of day, evening, and Saturday classes. To accommodate the needs of a diverse community, all courses and programs are offered in several convenient formats: classroom lecture, labs, and online courses.
The Delgado West Bank Campus was established in 1967 on 13.7 acres of land acquired from the U. S. Navy Surplus Property department. During its first year of operation, approximately 500 students were enrolled. Unfortunately, in 1970, the Campus was destroyed by a fire, and as a result of limited financial resources, the Campus was closed and operations ceased.
In August 1974 a new classroom building was completed, and educational services resumed on the West Bank Campus, with an initial enrollment of 750 students. The following year, enrollment more than doubled to 1,550. Building 1 now houses Business, Technology, and Math Division programs, the Greater New Orleans Region High School Equivalency Diploma Program, a learning resource center, and labs. The Annex to Building 1 accommodates the current Student Life Center and a large multi-function room used for special events. The Vocational-Technical facility (Building 2) was completed in 1978 and expanded in 1991. Currently housed in Building 2 are several large classrooms and labs, and the library.
Constructed in 1999, Larocca Hall houses administrative offices, the Bursar’s Office, the Student Affairs Department, the bookstore, classrooms, and faculty offices.
In June 2014, the Algiers Development District (ADD) sold the former Navy Chapel at Algiers’ Federal City to Delgado Community College. The 10,800-square-foot building was renovated, opened in September 2015, and now serves as the West Bank Campus Student Life Center, an area for students to relax between classes. It also offers a dining area, a game room, and offices for Student Government and Campus Police. A self-assessed student fee provided the project’s funding. The College intends for the West Bank Campus Student Life Center to be a community resource as well as a campus focal point. Offices providing resources for women and veterans are also included.
Whether students seek an associate degree or certificate, the West Bank Campus offers access to academic and technical programs at a convenient location. In its commitment to meet the educational and technical training needs of its students, Delgado’s West Bank Campus contributes to the economic and cultural growth of the entire West Bank community.
River City Site
Delgado Community College’s River City Site and Advanced Manufacturing Center will open in the 2018 - 2019 Academic Year. The new site is adjacent to the Churchill Technology and Business Park in Avondale. The location will offer educational courses and instructional programs tailored to meet the region’s workforce needs. The 10.5 acre facility is designed to accommodate training programs to support commerce along the Mississippi River on the growing West Bank of Jefferson Parish. The Advanced Manufacturing Center, housed within the River City Site, will focus on creating a sustainable, skilled workforce to support the industries investing in the region.
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