Recently, the State of Louisiana authorized construction to begin on Louisiana Tech University’s baseball facility and soccer and softball complex, replacing those that were destroyed during the storm that tore through Ruston almost one year ago.
Lincoln Builders, contractor for the projects, has begun work at the baseball facility, and area residents saw work begin on the soccer and softball complex during the month of March. The architectural firm for both projects is Tim Brandon and Associates of West Monroe.
“The start of new construction on these facilities is another significant step in the recovery process from the storm but also for the future of Louisiana Tech and the region,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “I am grateful for the consistent leadership of President Guice and his team as they successfully navigated the challenges and complexities of this process. I also want to recognize the partnership of the Office of Facility Planning and Control, the Office of Risk Management, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and FEMA. These agencies worked closely with Louisiana Tech to expedite the process and maximize the funding.”
The projects will progress simultaneously, and the University expects completion before the 2021 seasons for each sport.
“These projects would not be possible without the full support from the Governor and all of the state agencies that have been on our side since April 25, when a tornado plowed through Ruston and destroyed these facilities,” said Tech President Dr. Les Guice. “We were fortunate to be able to use the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) process where the designer and general contractor work collaboratively with the State to design and build the new facilities. This process empowers us to move more quickly than we would normally.”
Baseball will remain in the same location as it has stood for the past 50 years, and the project will include a new stadium, coaches’ offices, locker room, meeting room, athletic training room and hitting facility. Soccer and softball will relocate to the area northeast of Joe Aillet Stadium at the current rugby field. The new location will include stadiums for both softball and soccer, and a new support facility that will house the coaches’ offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms, athletic training room, and a shared hitting/practice facility for both sports.
“We know this has felt like a long process for our fan base and our student-athletes,” said LA Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland. “However, considering the circumstances we have been moving at break-neck speed thanks to the State, Lincoln Builders and Tim Brandon and Associates. Everyone wants to see progress that is tangible and that will begin immediately.
“A lot of people have worked extremely hard behind the scenes to get us to this point and we can’t thank them all enough; especially Adam McGuirt and Sam Wallace. We are excited about the fact that over the next month we will start to see tangible progress at all of these facilities. And we know the final product is going to be something that will make Louisiana Tech fans proud.”
During the storm, additional facilities including the tennis courts and track complex were damaged. The repair process on those facilities will begin within the spring quarter.
“Design and construction of facilities like this are difficult under normal circumstances,” said Sam Wallace, Associate Vice President for Administration and Facilities. “With the complexities of storm recovery and insurance, FEMA, multiple state agencies and the accelerated timeline, this process has been challenging. We are incredibly grateful for the assistance we have received as this has truly been a team effort of staff from all of the involved agencies to ensure that we are successful in delivering rebuilt facilities as quickly as possible. The competitive process to select a designer and contractor acquired through the emergency declaration of the State of Louisiana Office of Facility Planning and Control has allowed us to move as quickly as we have. “
Repairs to university housing and intramural facilities and other campus repairs are in the process of being designed and implemented, according to Adam McGuirt, Director of Disaster Recovery and Strategic Initiatives. The general campus repair process should be completed in the next few months.