LA Tech Unveils Updated Plans for South End Zone Complex
RUSTON - In June of 2010 Louisiana Tech officials unveiled "Quest for Excellence," a capital campaign geared toward greatly enhancing the University's athletic facilities.
Since that announcement more than three years ago, "Q4E" has become a visible reality. More than $3 million has been invested in numerous facility renovations, additions and improvements, including the baseball locker room and ticket office, the softball stands, press box and fence, the soccer lights, the Scotty Robertson Memorial Gym court and the court, video display board and sound system in the Thomas Assembly Center.
These improvements, along with the University's strong academic and athletic reputation, solidified Louisiana Tech's invitation into Conference USA; Tech joined C-USA July 1.
"Since the inception of 'Quest for Excellence,' the University has made great strides in a number of its athletic facilities," said Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland. "Facilities are the lifeblood to a college athletic department, and Louisiana Tech has benefited tremendously by the more than $3 million already donated and invested through this campaign. It was one of the driving forces behind our invitation to join Conference USA."
The next phase in continuing the "Quest for Excellence" and the centerpiece of the capital campaign is the construction of the new south end zone complex which will close the south end of Joe Aillet Stadium.
During a Monday lunchtime press conference held at the Charles Wyly Athletic Center before a room filled with Louisiana Tech coaches, administrators and fans, McClelland and Tech President Les Guice unveiled updated plans for the 70,000-square-foot-plus facility, which signifies the University's commitment to putting a stronghold on its place as a top tier institution.
"I am truly excited about the impact that this facility is going to have on our campus and our entire region," Guice said. "Through the leadership of the committee headed by Steve Davison and Tommy McClelland, I believe this first phase of the south end zone project will establish a strong foundation for further expansion of our facilities and enrichment of the Louisiana Tech experience for all of our students, fans and guests. There is still much more to do in achieving our vision for 'Quest for Excellence,' but this is an exciting milestone and an important step in reaching our goals."
McClelland announced that the projected timeline for the groundbreaking on the facility is the spring of 2014 with a projected operational date prior to the 2015 football season. "We know that this project is vitally important to our student-athletes, our student body and our fans," McClelland said. "Through a lot of hard work by a lot of people we are closing in on the actual construction of this state-of-the-art facility. It will be a game changer for our athletic department and athletic programs in so many ways."
The three-story athletic facility will benefit all of Louisiana Tech's student-athletes as it will include a new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning complex utilized by all 16 of the University's athletic programs. The new weight room is more than twice the square footage of the existing one with double height space maximizing natural light, and it will include a field view of Joe Aillet Stadium as well as a supplement and nutrition bar.
However, the weight room is just one aspect of the $18 million-plus project. The building will also house football coaches' offices, football locker room, team and position meeting rooms, club seating and a multi-functional dining space that can be utilized for athletic and campus events.
The second story of the facility will include the football coaches' offices as well as team and position meeting rooms. The 143-seat capacity, theatre-style meeting room will include state-of-the-art sound and video equipment and will be used for team meetings as well as athletic department press conferences and other events.
The club level will include luxury premium seating options with 302 chair back seats, multi-functional dining space seating up to 360, a private dining room with field view, and a full service commercial kitchen. In addition to generating additional revenue streams for the University and athletic department, this area will be utilized for campus, student and community events.
Steve Davison has served as the chair of the Leadership Team for the project which also includes Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Community Trust Bank CEO Drake Mills.
In addition to several key initial leadership gifts from loyal supporters, the Louisiana Tech student body self-assessed a student fee that will help generate millions more towards the construction of the facility.
"This facility would not be possible without the generosity of some of our most loyal supporters, alumni and friends," said McClelland. "And we cannot overstress the importance of the University's students, whose commitment to a quarterly fee enabled us to reach a financial level that made moving forward viable."
The process began in the summer of 2010 when LA Tech contracted with Populous to develop initial conceptual designs for the new facility. The University then contracted with TBA Studios based out of West Monroe a year ago as the company took the initial designs and streamlined them to fit the University's needs.
TBA Studios, founded in 2004, has developed a reputation for using traditional architectural methods in combination with modern technologies to provide their clients with a new perspective on the built environment. Founder and CEO Tim Brandon has more than 20 years of experience in the field and has worked on projects worldwide.
McClelland noted that there will be naming opportunities available in the new facility and anyone interested in donating to the project through the "Quest for Excellence" should contact Corre Stegall at the Louisiana Tech Foundation at 318-255-7950.
The building will be the largest athletic facility project on the Tech campus since the construction of the Thomas Assembly Center in the late 1970s and early '80s. Tech fans can view renderings of the new facility, read more about the project and support the project through an investment gift by logging onto LATechSports.com.