Jan. 13, 2014
RUSTON - During his remarks at the press conference to introduce him as Louisiana Tech's newest athletics director on July 16, 2013, Tommy McClelland stressed that his top priority was the construction of the south end zone facility at Joe Aillet Stadium.
In late October, McClelland and Tech President Les Guice joined forces during a "Quest for Excellence" press conference unveiling updated plans for the 70,000-square-foot-plus facility, which signifies the University's commitment to solidifying a stronghold on its place as a top tier institution.
"The south end zone project remains our No. 1 priority as an entire department," McClelland said. "This facility will enhance the welfare of our student athletes well into the future. We are working diligently to insure the project stays on schedule, and we are confident that it will."
During the past few months, the University has taken the necessary steps to keep the project moving forward with all eyes still set on a ground-breaking date of no later than April 15.
Some of the objectives that have been met since the late October announcement include:
A review of the design development drawings and specifications was completed and approved by the University and State Building officials (Nov. 8).
The University of Louisiana System approved a ground lease with lease-back provisions to Innovative Student Facilities to enable them to secure financing and construct the new building (December 6).
The State Bond Commission approved financing for construction (December 19).
"This project is essential to our recruitment and retention efforts, and our continued growth as an institution," said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. "The impact of this facility and what it represents at the highest levels of intercollegiate competition will serve as a source of pride for all our fans and supporters. I am excited about the progress we have made over the past several months and look forward to moving ever closer to its completion."
Ultimately, the University anticipates providing the selected contractor a notice to proceed prior to mid-April.
The three-story athletic facility will benefit all of Louisiana Tech's students and 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.
The new facility will also offer opportunities for students and student organizations throughout the campus to gather and use the new space for academic, student life, recreational, service learning and community engagement purposes.
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.
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.