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LSU expanding Tiger Stadium


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LSU acting on plans to expand Tiger Stadium

By Jim Kleinpeter, The Times Picayune

BATON ROUGE -- Spring football has just begun for the LSU football team. Meanwhile, LSU is looking a little farther down the road in reference to the Tigers' program.

The athletic department is moving forward with plans to add nearly 7,000 seats by enclosing the upper deck of the stadium's south end.

The Tiger Athletic Foundation board gave unanimous approval to proceed with the project with a completion date of 2014 or 2015, Athletic Director Joe Alleva said.

"There's lots of approval processes we have to go through -- the university, the Board of Supervisors, the Regents, bond companies, banks -- before we can get going," Alleva said. "Assuming we've got those, it will be a beautiful project that will beautify the south end of the stadium."

Alleva said the action by the TAF, the athletic department's fundraising organization, has gotten "the ball rolling."

It calls for the building of a free-standing structure above the south end zone to connect the east and west upper decks. The increased seating would include a 1,500-seat upper deck on top of a club level of 4,000 seats and two levels of 60 suites with room for 24 seats in each suite.

The addition of 6,940 seats would increase Tiger Stadium's capacity to nearly 99,500, making it the third-largest stadium in the SEC behind Tennessee's Neyland Stadium (102,455) and Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821).

"It will really dress up the stadium and be a tremendous addition," Alleva said. "It's financially feasible and responsible. I don't see very many negatives to it."

Alleva did not reveal a price tag but said TAF officials are confident the project will pay for itself. The TAF will pay for the construction and use proceeds from the suite and ticket sales to retire the debt.

Other proposed stadium changes include removing the existing scoreboard and replacing it with two video boards in either corner and above the south end zone stands.

Alleva also said about 1,000 seats of the visiting team seating allotment in the south end zone will be made available to those wishing to buy LSU season tickets, with the visitor seats moved to the new south upper deck.

In addition to the Tiger Stadium project, the athletic department is working with the TAF to build a tennis complex south of the campus at GSRI Road near Nicholson Drive. In place of the current tennis facility, Alleva said he would like to build a gymnastics practice facility.

Before the start of the coming season, Tiger Stadium will undergo a minor facelift with the existing chain-link fencing on the west side being replaced by iron fencing accompanying stone pillars. LSU will spend $8 million in private money raised by the TAF on the project, which will include a Championship Plaza on the west side to honor past individual and team accomplishments.


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