April 24, 2017 09:52 AM

Bill abolishes governing board and transfers ownership to UL Lafayette

Rep. Jean Paul Coussan
Photo by Robin May

Rep. Jean Paul Coussan's HB299 will be among a short list of bills up for debate and vote by the full House of Representatives when it convenes at 3 p.m. in the Capitol Monday.

Coussan's bill won approval from the House Commerce Committee last week and is expected to sail through the House today.

"It's not a controversial bill," Coussan told The Independent last week. "It's a bill that the LITE center Commission asked me to handle and I was happy to do so."

Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise is one of several state technology investments made in larger communities around the state tied to research and economic development. Those investments began during the administration of Gov. Mike Foster and started when the state put up money to convert an abandoned Baton Rouge shopping center into Louisiana Technology Park.

Other investments in the series have included wet labs in Shreveport and New Orleans.

LITE has a super computer that allows users to walk inside their data which is projected on screens on the interior walls of the center's iconic cocoon. The center has struggled to find its business footing since it opened in 2006, as economic conditions regionally and nationally undercut the promise of public-private partnerships which were seen as the model for its development.

Coussan's bill would transfer full ownership and control of the facility to the university with the focus shifting on drawing businesses linked to the university-based research to the facility.

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