Development of the College and the Locations
Delgado Community College is an institution of higher education managed by the Board of Supervisors for Community and Technical Colleges. Located in the center of the metropolitan area surrounding the City of New Orleans, the College serves more than 20,000 credit students each semester and another 10,000 non-credit students each year. With a full-time faculty of more than 450, Delgado is one of the largest institutions of higher education in Louisiana. September 2011 marked Delgado’s 90th 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, and 2008. 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 12,000 students. Delgado offers 35 associate degree programs, and more than 65 certificate, diploma, and technical competency area options, and almost 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 14 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 and slated to be rebuilt within the next few years.
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, two community and technical colleges, and one technical college with 40 statewide campuses under a new management 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.
Charity School of Nursing Campus
The 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 Community College 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 moved to the Nursing Campus. The 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, faculty and administrative offices, and a gymnasium. The library holdings include more than 100 periodicals in addition to books and other reference materials to serve the academic needs of students. A computer lab is available to students to provide enhanced learning experiences.
In January of 2008, Delgado partnered with the Louisiana Technical College (LTC) Region 1 to open an Allied Health and Practical Nursing Center of Excellence at the LTC Jefferson Campus in Metairie. Delgado’s Charity School of Nursing Practical Nursing program expanded its capacity to about 80 students per session with its move from the downtown Nursing Campus to the LTC Center of Excellence. Since that time the LTC Region One campuses have merged with Delgado, to become technical sites.
Act 521 of the 2010 Regular Louisiana Legislative Session authorized the transfer of all programs and courses of study offered through the Jefferson, Sidney N. Collier, Slidell, and West Jefferson 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 has become 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 nearly 30 occupational training and apprenticeship programs for carpenters, ironworkers, joint electricians, operating engineers, painters, glazers, plumbers, sheet metal workers, barbers, cosmetologists and more.
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. Students can also train at the West Jefferson Site in Harvey, which is less than 10 miles from Delgado’s West Bank Campus.
The Sidney Collier location in New Orleans East remains closed due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
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 more than 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. Additionally, the Campus schedules a variety of evening classes at John Ehret High School in Marrero.
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 GED Adult Education Program, a state-of-the art Compressed Video Center, the Office of Distance Learning, 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, an art studio, the Massage Therapy Program, the library, the Testing Center, and a Fitness Center.
Constructed in 1999, Larocca Hall houses administrative offices, the Bursar’s office, the Student Affairs Department, the bookstore, classrooms, and faculty offices. Currently, plans are underway for the construction of a new Student Life Center.
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.
Delgado Community College has been offering courses on the Northshore for more than 30 years, initially using St. Tammany Parish Public School facilities. Since 1988, the College has operated a permanent site, the Slidell Learning Center; the SLC (now Northshore-Slidell) has been successful in attracting the majority of the more than 2,700 students who attend Delgado on the Northshore. An additional Delgado site, Northshore-Covington, was opened in the summer of 2002. Since then, Delgado has expanded to two other buildings in downtown Covington, including an Allied Health building that enables students to complete a number of programs entirely on the Northshore: Pharmacy Technician, Respiratory Care Technician, Surgical Technician, and Veterinary Technician.
As a prime example of the College’s response to community needs, Delgado Northshore represents two ideals: providing easy access to higher education for all of our citizens and serving new aspirations and new populations in southern Louisiana.
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