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Unveiling the future

LA Tech shows off plans for new athletics facilities
Friday, November 22, 2019
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Leader photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT
            Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Tommy Clelland shows off an artist’s rendering of the university’s planned combined softball/soccer faciity during a press conference on Thursday at the Davison Athletics Complex.

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Leader photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT
            Demolition began earlier this week on the old J.C. Love Baseball Complex destroyed during the April 25 tornado that struck Ruston. Louisiana Tech is building a new baseball complex on the same site.

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Photo illustration courtesy of LA Tech Athletics
            This is an artist’s rendered of the planned new softball and soccer fields at Louisiana Tech University.

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Photo illustrations courtesy of LA Tech Media Relations
           An artist’s rendering of the new baseball facility that will be built on the site of the old J.C. Love Baseball Complex on the Louisiana Tech University campus.

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An artist’s rendering of the new Women’s Athletics Facility Tech is going to build in between the new softball and soccer complexes.

The April 25 tornado that roared through Ruston is bringing winds of change for Louisiana Tech University’s baseball, softball and soccer programs.

Tech officials held a press conference inside the Davison Athletics Complex on Thursday to announce plays for new on-campus facilities for those three Tech athletics programs after the originals one were destroyed by that twister.

Tech’s baseball stadium will be rebuilt on its original site, but the softball and soccer programs will be moving closer to Joe Aillet Stadium and the Thomas Assembly Center in a move that will change the traffic flow on Bulldog Drive and the boulevard between the track and the current rugby field.

Both the soccer and softball fields will relocate — soccer to the rugby field off of Tech Drive and softball to what is currently part of the Aillet Stadium/TAC parking lot just north of the Jim Mize Track and Field Complex with an athletics building separating the two fields.

“In the wake of the April 25 tornado, Louisiana Tech University received an outpouring of support from our city, state, and the nation, and we’re so thankful for each act of kindness and encouragement,” said Tech President Les Guice during the press conference.

“The tornado allowed us as a university to reimagine our athletics facilities in the context of our developing 21st Century Campus. We’ve involved coaches, students, faculty, and staff in the formation of plans moving forward, which include additional housing, updated parking, and recreational facilities to create a living and learning environment that is worthy of our wonderful students,” Guice said.

“These athletics facilities will allow our Tech Family to enjoy intercollegiate sports in a number of ways, and they will be a shining example of innovation for other schools in the nation.”

Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland presented renderings completed by TBA Studios, the same architecture firm that designed the Davison Athletics Complex and the new press box and suites at Joe Aillet Stadium. Mc-Clelland also confirmed that Lincoln Builders will be the contractor for all three complexes and that that the renovations to the Lady Techster Tennis Complex, also damaged by the tornado, will begin in advance of the other three projects.

“We are so excited to unveil our vision for the future homes for Louisiana Tech baseball, soccer and softball,” McClelland said. “So many people who are passionate about our University have shared a voice in this endeavor, including a representation from our student body and our fan base.

“The construction of the Davison Athletics Complex and the new press box and suites over the past six years have established a standard of excellence for Louisiana Tech athletics. Our goal with these new facilities is to meet or even surpass that standard. With our eyes focused on our student athletes’ welfare and our fans’ game-day experience, we feel we are delivering at a level that will be second to none in our conference and our region.”

The overall project consists of the baseball complex (with an indoor practice facility), a baseball facility, a softball/soccer facility, a soccer complex (with a shared indoor practice facility), and a softball complex (with a shared indoor practice facility).

Construction on the new facilities will be going on concurrently and should begin after the first of the year. The end goal is for all three teams to be able to compete in their new facilities by next year (soccer — fall of 2020; baseball and softball — spring of 2021).

McClelland said he couldn’t give a cost estimate for the project at this point because insurance payments and other possible reimbursements/funding are still being worked on, but he did say that philanthropic opportunities will exist within all three stadiums and both team facilities.

Louisiana Tech petroleum engineering graduate Tim Cutt (Class of 1983) and his wife Carolyn donated $250,000 in September to the rebuild of the Lady Techster Soccer Complex in honor of former professor Robert Caruthers.

Tech’s new baseball stadium will feature all chair-back seats with additional berm seating with partial seat coverage and will hold a capacity of approximately 2,500 fans. A difference between the old stadium and the new one will be that once fans enter the concourse of the new stadium, they never have to leave with bathrooms, concessions, etc., all located within the confines of the stadium.

“It’s such an exciting day not only for our baseball program and athletics department, but also for our great university and community as a whole,” said Tech baseball coach Lane Burroughs The entire landscape of our athletic facilities is being taken to an entirely new level. The same can be said for our recruitment and development of our current and future student athletes. We are so thankful to everyone that worked so diligently and tirelessly to make this day a possibility. It has been a long process since that awful night in April, but our people have stood firm and patiently worked every day to see us come out better than before. Our loyalty, patience and persistence will allow us to reap benefits in the future. It’s a great day to be a Bulldog and Lady Techster.”

Tech’s new soccer/ softball facility will be two stories tall and centrally located between the soccer field and softball field. It will include a player locker room; coaches locker room; coaches offices with each overlooking their respective fields; player lounges; team meeting/video rooms; equipment/laundry rooms and an indoor practice facility.

Tech’s new soccer complex will feature a combination of bleacher seating and berm seating with a capacity of 750 and will include tailgating opportunities for fans, restrooms, concessions, ticket booths and plaza entry.

“The loss of our field was devastating and the memories we created there will never go away,” said Tech head soccer coach Kevin Sherry. “This new complex will give us a chance to create even greater memories. It will play a huge role in recruiting and provide a unique experience for the student athletes and fans alike. It is exciting and the team can’t wait to play their first game here.”

Tech’s new softball complex will feature a combination of chairback seats, bleacher seats and berm seating with a capacity of 1,000 along with tailgating opportunities for fans, restrooms, concessions, ticket booths, and plaza entry.

“While the tornado last April brought devastation and heartbreak to our program, university, and community, it has also allowed us the opportunity to rebuild a stronger foundation for the future,” said new Tech softball head coach Maria Winn-Ratliff. “We would like to thank our administration and all those involved in the planning and designing of this first-class facility. Our alumni also deserve to be recognized. Their past successes have paved the way for future athletes to train and compete in a facility of this magnitude.

“The dynamics of our new facility will provide our current student athletes with the resources tobe more successful while enhancing their overall experience at Louisiana Tech. The addition of the facility will also make Louisiana Tech more enticing to future high-level recruits wishing to compete in the premier stadium in Conference USA.”