One year after the opening of the Davison Athletics Complex, Louisiana Tech athletics director Tommy McClelland unveiled the plans and timeline for the newest phase of facility improvements at Joe Aillet Stadium.
McClelland revealed that a new US$16.7m press box and guest suite facility would be built. An additional US$1.9m will be invested in other stadium improvements, including LED lighting, a permanent west-side ticket booth, renovations to the west-side bathrooms, and aesthetic improvements to stadium entry points.
The total price of US$18.6m for the various improvements will be funded 100% through private donations.
The cost of these additions, combined with the money spent on construction of the Davison Athletics Complex and installation of new field turf last year, means over US$40m will have been invested in the facility in a three-year timeframe. All costs have been covered through private investment and other non-state revenue sources.
Demolition of the existing press box (built in 1968) and sky box (built in 1988) will begin November 14 following the final home regular season football game against UTSA. In a Louisiana Tech statement, McClelland said that if the Bulldogs qualify to host the Conference USA championship game this year, the game would be played at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, which has been reserved for the first week of December.
The new facility, which will stretch from the 10-yard line to the 10-yard line, will be completed in time for the home opener in 2017.
“The luxury suites that will be a part of this project will provide us with an additional revenue source that will help us annually. We want our fans and alumni to enjoy the game-day experience and many of these improvements will add to that experience,” said McClelland.
“The new state-of-the-art press box will also provide our media partners, locally, regionally and nationally, with the communications and accommodations necessary to effectively cover Louisiana Tech and highlight our athletics programs and institution. We want them to have a positive experience and provide them with the facilities and access they need to do their jobs. It’s a win-win for us.”
The project is led by Ruston-based contractor Lincoln Builders while the design team includes TBA Studio as well as sports architect firm Gensler.
The new two-level facility will include luxury suites, press box and all of the booths needed for national television broadcasts, radio broadcasts, and the various game-day components (coaches’ booths, AD suites, security, scoreboard, public address, instant replay, media rights holder suite, and more).
“One of the cornerstones of Louisiana Tech’s strategic vision for the future is building state-of-the-art facilities that will help us to attract top students, faculty staff and corporate partners,” added Louisiana Tech president Les Guice. “As part of a broad and comprehensive university growth strategy, these facilities, which are being built across our entire campus, also bring national attention to Louisiana Tech, which affords us opportunities to highlight our athletics, academic, research and entrepreneurial strengths, as well as showcasing the achievements of our campus community.
“I want to recognize the leadership of our University Foundation, which has made it possible for us to privately fund this particular project and to elevate Louisiana Tech’s national standing, both institutionally and athletically.”
The new facility will be approximately 30,000ft2, more than four times the square footage of the existing press box and sky boxes. With 100% private funding for the project, Louisiana Tech is able to maximize and focus state resources on academic and research programs, student support and services, and campus operations.
The first floor of the newest facility will house 13 luxury suites plus the Presidential Suite. Each one of the luxury suites will hold 20 supporters and will include 12 outdoor seats, indoor lounge furniture, a kitchenette area and a big-screen TV. Patrons will gain access to these luxury suites through a club area, which will be used for food and beverage.
The second level of the new construction will include a two-level media work area, twice the square footage of the existing press box (seats 60). The second floor will also include home and visiting AD suites along with a suite for the University’s media rights partner (Learfield), and booths for home and visiting coaches, home and visiting radio, national TV, game-day security operations, instant replay, public address and scoreboard operations, as well as a flex booth that can be used for scouts or a third radio broadcast.