footbALL 2014: New Digs

by Walter Pierce

Ragin' Cajuns break ground on $13.8 million athletic center.

Ragin' Cajuns break ground on $13.8 million athletic center. By IND staff

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014


UL Lafayette broke ground Aug. 20 on a new Athletics Performance Center that will benefit all student-athletes in the university's 16 Division I athletic programs. The $13.8 million facility is going up adjacent to the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility.

Led by a group that included UL President Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, Director of Athletics Scott Farmer, Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Foundation Chairman Wayne Elmore, student-athletes Shellie Landry and Blake Trahan, head football coach Mark Hudspeth and head baseball coach Tony Robichaux, officials symbolically moved dirt on the 85,000-square foot facility, which is part of Tier 1 of the Athletic Facilities Master Plan.

The new facility will house a 12,000-square-foot weight room, a state-of-the-art athletic training room and a 150-seat auditorium. It will also include a new football locker room and new offices and meeting rooms for the Ragin' Cajuns football coaching staff.

Elmore said the foundation raised $7.3 million during the past fiscal year, The Advocate reported, also noting that the $13.8 million facility is being paid for with $24 million in bonds, which are also being used to renovate Cajun Field. RCAF donated $400,000 per year to pay interest on those bonds.

"Today's groundbreaking is another essential step to competing at the national level," Farmer said in a prepared statement. "We will excel and continue and to grow if we do two things - give our coaches what they need to recruit great student-athletes, and give our student-athletes what they need to be successful. The reason this facility was placed in Tier 1 of the Athletic Master Plan is because this facility helps accomplish both of those goals for all student-athletes. This facility positively impacts everybody."

The master plan, composed of three tiers, was proposed in March of 2013 and approved by the UL Board of Supervisors one month later. Other Tier 1 projects include the renovation of Cajun Field, which features seating and facilities in the south end zone (it was completed in time for the 2014 season), and the renovation of the Ragin' Cajuns Soccer and Track Facility.

"These are moments that do not come around every day," Hudspeth said. "It's a great day in the history of this program. A lot of people have made this dream possible. This is just the start. All of our programs here have not seen the rewards and the heights that it's going to reach once we can get the facilities that we need to train our student-athletes, now and in the future."