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

In June 2021, UL and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center announced that the hospital purchased the naming rights to the stadium for $15 million, which will help fund the project. At the time, officials said they expected work to start “at some point after the 2022 football season”.

But on Monday, the athletics department assured fans planning to buy or renew 2023 season tickets that their seats would not be moved.

The demolition process is now expected to begin after the 2023 season, and the new projected timeline is “18 to 24 months”, indicating an anticipated completion and opening date in time for the 2025 season.

“It’s very time-consuming and very slow,” said UL athletic director Bryan Maggard. “We are making progress. The ball keeps moving. We continue to make progress. Personally, I always want things to happen faster than they do, but no, we keep going and we’ll get there.

Maggard said the entire project is still technically in the final stages of design. If the demolition phase follows the 2023 season as expected, 2024 season ticket holders can anticipate a possible change of seats.

“You never know with the weather,” said Maggard of the new timeline. “Another thing about a construction project is you never really know what you’re getting into until you start making inroads.”

This project required a new west tower to house the premium facilities. It’s too early to know for sure what percentage of season ticket holders will have to move to the east side or south end zone of the stadium, “but definitely on the upper deck. Anyone on the upper deck who is reserved will get a new seat,” said Maggard.

The project upgrades will include premium suites, club level and club seats, lodge boxes and press boxes, according to the university’s website. Amenities in premium suites will include private indoor and outdoor seating; access to climate controlled club areas; catering; cash bars; and suite attendant.

The loge box will feature private outdoor seating and premium parking access. Club chair holders will be provided with outdoor seating in armchairs and drink holders. Loge box and club seat holders will have access to the club area, which will also serve as dining facilities for student athletes year-round, the website said.

The project also includes new video boards, lights, sound systems, renovated seating, a new façade and office space for athletic staff.

The construction shouldn’t affect the team’s daily training sessions during the 2024 season, but there will be some inconvenience for fans.

“That’s what you have to do,” said Maggard. “That’s part of the hurdles you have to overcome to get where you want to be.”

The ultimate goal is progress.

“What I am most excited about is offering a premium experience for people on our premises that will hopefully increase attendance and ticket sales,” said Maggard.

As for the football season that ended in a 23-16 loss to Houston in the Independence Bowl, Maggard said he was very encouraged by the team’s strong finish.

The second half of the season showed me that we are getting better in all areas, he said. I know that the dressing room is very, very supportive of our head football coach and coaching staff.

By Gundah

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