Sep 9, 2013 10:27 PM by Steven Albritton
The home opener for Ragin' Cajun football is this weekend, but that's not the only reason it's a big week for the Cajuns. There is a lot on the line, but off the field. It all has to do with the "Master plan." UL is moving forward with 9-projects to upgrade its athletic facilities which will total $115 million dollars. In the plans are upgrades to the football stadium which would push seating capacity to more than 65,000 when completed, which will more than double its seating.
This week, there are two meetings to essentially grant the university bond money to fund a portion of the work. Tuesday, they meet with the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority for the first round of approval. Friday, all eyes will be on the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget for UL to present for approval of its project lease.
"The problem is the unknowns. You have to be there and you have to be ready to defend everything that you're doing from a financial standpoint to an organizational standpoint," UL Facilities Director Bill Christ said.
According to Christ, one of the biggest difficulties with a project of this size is the speed UL is trying to get it approved. They are trying to get both funding and contractors secured at the same time.
"A normal project, just a standard state project, may take five or so years to bring to fruition from the time the money's approved on it. For us to get this thing done within a years time is going to be pretty ambitious," Christ said.
Everyone working on the project has to be on the same page, or the entire master facilities plan could be delayed
"It just takes one thing to throw everything out of whack. So, we can't rest on our laurels that we've had success up till now. We need to worry about what we've got ahead of us and make sure we're completely covered on all bases."
Tuesday, the university should get $26 million dollars in bond money approved. That money will equal about a quarter of all money needed to fund the projects.
Also up for approval is a new parking structure on campus. UL hopes to have the 1100 space, six story structure built on campus before the beginning of the 2014 school year.
Here is a link to the complete list of the UL Facilities Master Plan.