Why Cajun Field Football Stadium Renovation Won’t Start This Summer

Major renovation at Cajun field won’t begin until sometime after the 2022 football season ends, at the earliest, Louisiana athletic director Bryan Maggard noted.

The financing and fundraising/revenue generation components of the long-awaited project are still not in competition, and its design component has not started.

“Although the three are related, they are also separate,” Maggard told the Daily Advertiser.

“We know that we are looking to start the design phase in the not too distant future. I think we’re just around the corner from that. I know we have university leaders working on the funding side. …And (the athletic department) is heavily involved in ongoing fundraising and finalizing our strategies to sell premium seats.

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The $45-65 million stadium renovation is the main element of UL’s sports facilities master plan originally introduced in 2013.

Other parts of the plan have been completed, including the renovation of the baseball stadium and athletics/football facilities, but the football project has been beleaguered by setbacks, including multiple economic downturns due to the oil industry and local gas and COVID-19.

A major renovation at Cajun Field, shown as a C-130J before a Nov. 4 game against Georgia State, won't begin until sometime after the 2022 season ends.

It was expected at one point that construction would begin this summerbut this is no longer the case.

Finances are halfway, costs are rising

“We’re hoping that (starting the design phase) will help keep us on track, but we’ve seen material and labor costs go up,” Maggard said. “We know that there are factors that did not exist a few, three years ago.

“To say it hasn’t impacted our progress, I would be remiss to say. But, at the same time, we are doing everything we can to keep moving forward.

Fundraising continues at UL, which has already sold the stadium naming rights to the Notre-Dame de Lourdes Regional Medical Center for $15 million over 15 years; announced the receipt of a $2 million pledge from IberiaBank which secured the naming rights for the stadium’s West Hall and future sports administration offices; announced a seven-figure donation from MacLaff, Inc., which owns and operates several South Louisiana McDonald’s restaurants; and received a $1 million donation from the Home Banksome of which will be used for the project.

The same goes for financing, which involves issuing loans and securing bonds.

“As soon as possible, any kind of demolition could happen after the 2022 season,” Maggard said, “but you need to have all your funding in place before you can start demolishing anything.

“We are more than halfway (with funding). We just need to iron out all the details with the lender and finalize what else we need to get the line of credit, so to speak, that we’ll need to get started. So we’re not far away. But, at the same time, it is difficult to establish a definitive timetable. »

ULwho finished last season nationally at 13-1 after a New Orleans Bowl win over Marshall, opens the 2022 season Sept. 3 against Southeast Louisiana at Cajun field and will play its final regular-season home game Nov. 10 against Georgia Southern.

Defense Cajuns champion Sun Belt Conferencehowever, could possibly host the leaguein December if it qualifies there for a fifth straight time as the Western Division Championship.

Maggard also said UL was getting quotes and had designs in place for a new strike and throw facility for the baseball team.

UL was working to secure funding for a new clubhouse for the home team at ML “Tigue” Moore Field in Russo Park, but that is no longer the top priority.

“The second phase would be the club and coaching offices (now),” Maggard said, “but (coach Matt Deggs’) priority is player development.”

Maggard didn’t know when this project would begin, but he assumed it wouldn’t be until September.

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