River Parishes Community College United Way campus’ building renovation fund received a $1,000,000 commitment from Valero this month.
The Boutte campus is a result of a partnership with River Parishes Community College in Reserve, which agreed to manage the St. Charles Parish campus if the United Way found a building.
The United Way purchased a 3.9-acre site at 13143 Highway 90 for the parish’s campus location. The project was estimated to cost a total of $3.3 million and include a $1.4 million renovation to the 16,389 square-foot bingo hall and the addition of 439 square feet.
“I’m honored to be a part of this partnership with United Way and RPCC,” Jerry Stumbo, vice president and general manager at Valero’s St. Charles refinery, said. “Valero aims to improve the quality of life in the parish where we operate. We continue to be supportive of projects that reduce poverty through education so that our neighbors may acquire the skills they need.”
Valero officials said the idea for United Way St. Charles to renovate a building that would later become a community college developed after meeting with local leaders in education, business, government and industry. Data provided in an Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed report was used, and in the end it was determined that what was most needed in St. Charles Parish was job training.
The RPCC campus provides St. Charles Parish residents with a local technical and vocational school where students will be able to attain an associate’s degree in process technology or instrumentation. Before the campus was developed, students in St. Charles Parish had to travel to other parishes to attend this type of program.
“We are speechless at the generosity and community commitment shown by Valero in this donation,” United Way St. Charles Executive Director John Dias said. “This college will change the lives of generations to come. We can now ‘teach people to fish’ and help them help themselves and their families through education and job training.”
RPCC Interim Chancellor Dr. Jim Carlson said RPCC was humbled by the generosity of Valero for making the investment into the new United Way of St. Charles Campus.
“This campus will allow RPCC to expand its program offerings and provide high-tech, relevant, hands-on training and work experiences for the people of St. Charles Parish,” Carlson said.
The community college is open and classes have officially begun. Valero plans to partner with the United Way St. Charles and RPCC to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and sign reveal with community members and local officials sometime this spring.