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Renovations to UL-Lafayette's Football Stadium to Begin After 2023 Season

Thu January 12, 2023 - Southeast Edition
Acadiana Advocate & Lafayette Daily Advertiser


Constructed in 1971, Cajun Field — now to be known as Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium — due to a $15 million donation over 15 years, will soon receive the first major renovations in its 50-year existence that will ultimately change the way the complex feels for generations to come. (Rendering courtesy of Developing Lafayette via University of Louisiana)
Constructed in 1971, Cajun Field — now to be known as Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium — due to a $15 million donation over 15 years, will soon receive the first major renovations in its 50-year existence that will ultimately change the way the complex feels for generations to come. (Rendering courtesy of Developing Lafayette via University of Louisiana)

The University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette has announced that its renovation of Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium will not affect the fall 2023 football season.

In June 2021, UL and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center came to an agreement where the hospital would buy the stadium's naming rights for $15 million — money which would help fund the building project.

At the time, university officials said they expected work to begin "at some point following the 2022 football season," according to the Acadiana Advocate, but the project, budgeted between $45 million to $65 million, has now been pushed back until the end of next season, at the earliest.

The updated timeline for the work to be done is now "18 to 24 months," according to UL-Lafayette officials. The demolition process is currently planned to begin after the 2023 season, with a project completion and opening date in time for the 2025 season.

"You never know with weather," UL Athletics Director Bryan Maggard said of the new timeline. "Another thing about construction projects is you never really know what you're getting into until you start breaking ground."

Last March, Maggard told The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette that fundraising, revenue generation and financing for the upgrades were coming along slower than initially predicted, and that the increases in the cost for materials and labor delayed the beginning of the project's design phase.

"It's just been very time-consuming and very slow," he said in early January while giving an update to the Advocate. "We're progressing. The ball continues to move. We continue to make progress. Personally, I always want things to happen faster than they do, but we're moving along, and we'll get there."

On Jan. 2, the school's athletic department assured fans planning to purchase or renew season tickets for 2023 that their seats will not be moved.

But if the demolition follows this season, as hoped, season ticket holders for 2024 may see their seats changing locations.

Maggard added, though, that it is too early to know exactly what percentage of season ticket holders will have to move to the east side or the south end zone of the stadium, "but certainly in the upper deck."

Fans to Benefit from Improvements to Stadium

Upgrading the 39,900-seat Cajun Field will include building a new west tower to house premium amenities. Additionally, construction crews will improve the stadium by building a club level, more premium seating and a new press box.

Each of the premium suites will include private indoor and outdoor seating, access to a climate-controlled club area, catering, a cash bar and a suite attendant.

UL-Lafayette's website noted that the upgraded stadium's loge boxes will feature private outdoor seating and premium parking access, while club seat holders will be able to watch games outdoors from comfortable chairs equipped with armrests and beverage holders. Ticketholders in each section also will have access to the club area, which will double as a dining facility for student-athletes throughout the year.

The Advocate reported the project also includes a new videoboard, lights, sound system, new façade and office space for UL athletics staff.

The construction should not affect daily practice sessions for the team during the 2024 season, Maggard explained, but he admitted to the Advocate that there will be some inconveniences for Ragin' Cajuns fans.

"That's just what you have to do," he said, while adding that progress is the goal. "That's part of the hurdle to have to overcome to get to where you want to go. What I'm most excited about is offering a premium experience for people at our venue that will hopefully enhance attendance and ticket sales."




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