THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — A new laboratory at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux will give students hands-on experience with the kind of equipment used to prevent blowouts and other catastrophes on oil rigs.

Nicholls officials and industry executives last week unveiled the lab, which is named after Johnson L. "Bubba" Hale Jr., a Nicholls alumnus and oil industry executive. The Daily Comet reports that the Friday ceremony was one of the last formal steps before students in petroleum services and safety technology courses start using the equipment.

The lab is being paid for with more than $300,000 in state education and private oil industry sources.