Davison Athletics Complex
Since the initial plans for the Davison Athletics Complex were unveiled back in 2010, it has been referred to as a game-changer for Louisiana Tech University and its athletic department.
And when it opened in early September for the Bulldogs home opener against Southern, more than 27,000 fans saw first-hand the impact of the 70,000-plus square foot, $22 million dollar south end zone facility.
For Louisiana Tech officials -- both academic and athletic -- the opening of the building closes one chapter and opens another one.
"The dedication of this amazing facility in honor of the Davison family is a most fitting tribute to their decades of unwavering support and commitment to Louisiana Tech," said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. "From academics and research to athletics and student success, the Davisons have contributed in countless ways to advancing our institution and advocating for its people, programs, and plans for the future. We are inspired by their passion for Louisiana Tech and truly grateful for their generosity."
The three-story facility was done the right way, with full attention given to every detail from the utilization of the space to the installation of amenities to the creation of the wall graphics to the selection of weight equipment and furniture.
"Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment by so many different people," said Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland. "When I was hired, it was made very clear to me that this building was the No.1 priority for athletics. It has been a labor of love for so many individuals, from donors to contractors to architects to our student-body to university and athletic staff. From all of the input we have received so far, it exceeds everyone's expectations. The final product is something we can all be proud of. We are so grateful to everyone who contributed to this facility becoming a reality."
In late June the announcement was made that the building would be named in honor of the Davison family -- beginning with Mr. and Mrs. Paul M. Davison and continuing with Mr. and Mrs. James E. Davison and their children -- who have long been among Louisiana Tech University's most generous, active, and impactful benefactors and advocates.
"Our family is very grateful to have been in a position to hopefully make a meaningful impact on our school with our investment in this building," said Steve Davison. "There were so many other individuals and families who made significant and sacrificial gifts in order to make this building a reality. We are so thankful to those partners in this project. Years from now, I think we will look back at this investment and agree that it was money very well spent."
The facility is the cornerstone of the Quest for Excellence capital campaign started back in 2010, a campaign that has raised more than $18.5 million in private donations. Some of this money has been spent on additional facility upgrades, renovations and additions throughout the Louisiana Tech Athletics Department.
In the spring of 2012, Louisiana Tech students overwhelmingly passed a new student fee and renewed a previous fee that supported the construction of the Davison Athletics Complex and improvements of several campus facilities, and provided for new recreational and outdoor classroom spaces. The student investment will yield great benefits as student and community groups utilize the great meeting space on the 3rd floor for special events ad programs.
McClelland seemingly ran out of adjectives when describing the new $22 million dollar facility.
First-class facility, incredible, remarkable, home run, impressive and even intimidating were all used by McClelland when local media got a first-hand look at the Davison Athletics Complex and a new turf field.
"This facility right here is No. 1," McClelland said in response to how it stacks up with other Conference USA schools. "I think it's No. 1 in terms of square footage, function, in terms of newness. Obviously it's the newest facility. Overall, when you go back and stand at the 5-yard line right here and this thing kind of looms over you, it's not only impressive, but if you're the opponent it's kind of intimidating."
The facility includes the weight room, players’ lounge, meeting room, coaches offices, position meeting rooms and the club level. And scattered throughout the facility are graphics depicting the great players, coaches and moments in the football program’s history.
McClelland said it was hard to pinpoint the features he was most proud or excited about, but one of the crown jewels is arguably the third level that includes a 450 capacity club level with 302 premium seats overlooking the field.
"This space right here is a separator for everyone," McClelland said. "There are a lot of people that have premium seating. There's a lot of people that have premium seating in an end zone. I don't know if there's anybody that has premium seating in the end zone this close to the field. It's incredible. There's not a bad view here at all."
McClelland referred to three groups that stand to benefit from the facility — current players, future players and former student-athletes. The latter, according to McClelland, helped reel in 50 to 75 percent of the private funds to push the project forward.
"That's because they believe in what we're doing," he said. "That sends a signal to them that there's an investment being made even though it doesn't impact me anymore I want to be involved in this."
And the hope is donors will share a similar sentiment moving forward.
"When we bring our donors to this space, they see, oh, they didn't just build a building, they built a remarkable building, they really went the extra mile," McClelland said. "We weren't frivolous with money. Twenty-two million dollars is great, but what we got for $22 million when it's all said and done is incredible. The donors will be able to say I want to be a part of this as you go to the next project.
"We didn't cut any corners. We were very responsible with the funds that were given."