Louisiana College spent more than $5 million on a law school that never opened

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • College purchased Waggoner Building in 2010, spent $4.6 million on repairs and renovations.
  • Accreditation for the law school has failed to materialize.
  • The building has been on the real estate market since last year.
  • Louisiana College (LC) has spent more than $5 million on a law school that it has not opened — and a confidential email from the founding dean reveals that there are no plans to open it in the future, either.

    “Due to the unforeseen developments with accreditation and other issues on the main campus in Pineville in 2012, our hands in Shreveport became tied and the law school project inevitably delayed until the accreditation issues in Pineville could be fully corrected,” J. Michael Johnson wrote in the April 2013 memo, which The Town Talk, an online source for public notice, obtained on Tuesday.

    “Due to the unforeseen developments with accreditation and other issues on the main campus in Pineville in 2012, our hands in Shreveport became tied and the law school project inevitably delayed..."   

    The private Baptist college announced the opening of the Judge Paul Pressler School of Law in 2008 and has since spent approximately $5.5 million on real estate, renovations, and salaries, according to an article in The Advertiser, a local news source.

    In 2010, the college purchased the Waggoner Building, the future site of the school, for $400,000, then spent about $4.6 million on repairs and renovations, according to tax forms from the 2013 and 2012 fiscal years.

    The building has been listed with Sealy Real Estate Services LLC since last year and its agent, Beth F. King, told The Town Talk last April that it could be listed for about $4 million — less than what the college spent on repairs alone.

    The Advertiser also reported that the school spent approximately $400,000 on salaries during the time that it had employees.

    The school got as far as admitting students.

    LC President Joe Aguillard blamed the accreditation problems on Johnson failing to complete applications “timely or correctly,” according to a letter from former LC board member Heath Veuleman dated Dec. 5, 2012. However, Augillard has yet to comment on the matter.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter @kctimpf

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