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“My mom went back to school and so she would come in late and so when I got hungry I asked her what’s for dinner, she said whatever you make, and so  that’s the way I kind of got started,” explains Ross Lancon.

Today the 24-year-old is taking his passion to the next level. He’s  one of 300 students enrolled at Nicholl State’s Chef John Folse Culinary Institute in Thibodaux. Because he’s a freshman he’ll be graduating from a new, state of the art facility.

Executive Director of the John Folse Culinary Institute, Chef Randy Cheramie, says, “When I first came here in 1999 they told me we’re two years from getting a new school. So here it is, twelve, fifteen years later; it’s actually coming to fruition.”

As of today the culinary arts school takes up 9,000 square feet. Most of it is inside the science building. The new plans put students in a 33,000 square foot building of their own.

“We’re looking that our enrollment will double. We’ll probably go to 600 students by the second year that we’re in the new facility,” says Cheramie.

The new facility will be located towards the front of campus, along LA-1. Construction is scheduled to begin in May. The building is expected to be up and running by the Fall semester of 2014.

“It’s a dream come true. You know, we’re finally going to have the type of facility that will afford Louisiana residents an affordable higher education in the culinary arts,” says Cheramie.

The new facility costs about $12.6 Million. Nicholls State University donors put up about a third of that money, the rest is state funded the rest.