November 17, 2022
Dillard University has closed on a loan to build a residential facility that will be located near the campus, where a previous University apartment complex once stood. The new 200-bed residence hall will be located less than a mile from campus at 4141 Norman Mayer Avenue. The closing marked the culmination of a six-month process with the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program which provided the University with a $41 million loan to complete the project.
Ralph Johnson, vice president for business and finance, called the loan closure “a great accomplishment for Dillard.” Johnson, who also serves as Dillard’s chief financial officer, reflected, “The application process was extensive and a team effort with various University offices, but I think students will appreciate the new option for housing.”
“This project aligns with one of our top priorities to have facilities to withstand the forecast,” said Dr. Rochelle Ford, president of Dillard. “While we feverishly work to improve our current residential halls, having a new residential facility should further improve the quality of life for our students, creating living and learning spaces which should play a role in their social mobility.”
The goal of the HBCU Capital Financing Program is “to provide low-cost capital to finance improvements to the infrastructure” of HBCUs according to the program’s website. It provides HBCUs “with access to capital financing or refinancing for the repair, renovation, and construction of classrooms, libraries, laboratories, dormitories, instructional equipment, and research instrumentation.”
“It’s also exciting for our neighbors, because we aim to have commercial retail space on the first floor,” said Ford. “The project definitely gives new life to our being ‘The Jewel of Gentilly.’”