New reports first released by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser have revealed that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s planned renovations for Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium, announced in June 2021, will be delayed until the end of the 2022-23 football season.
A 33-page PDF released in 2013 by the university titled Stadium Expansion details the Cajun Field portion of an “Athletics Facilities Master Plan.”
The abstract states: “Through the interview process the coaching and administrative staff expressed the need for a state of the art football facility, premium seating opportunities, and a quality fan experience.”
Shortly thereafter, the south endzone of Cajun Field was rebuilt, according to the PDF.
“The eight story press box facility will house all necessary operational programmatic elements including a kitchen, ticket office, media support, loading dock, merchandizing, in addition to a new student dining facility and administration offices.”
The main reasons for this current delay are issues of acquiring funds, either by financing or fundraising, which have subsequently pushed back the design of the remaining renovations.
“We know that we’re looking to start the design phase in the not-too-distant future. I think we’re right around the corner from that. I know we have university leaders working on the financing component,” Louisiana Athletic Director Bryan Maggard said in an interview with The Daily Advertiser. “And (the athletic department) is heavily involved right in continued fundraising and finalizing our strategies to sell premium seats.”
“We’re hoping (starting the design phase) helps keep us on track, but we have seen escalation in pricing for materials and labor,” Maggard said. “We know there are factors out there that weren’t there a couple, three, years ago.”
Maggard then said that these issues have caused the delays in Cajun Field.
“To say that hasn’t had an impact on our progress, I’d be remiss to say that. But, at the same time, we’re doing everything we can to continue to move forward.”
A major step in fundraising for the project has been Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center obtaining the naming rights for 15 years for a reported $15 million, announced by the university on June 15, 2021.
“This transformational gift from Our Lady of Lourdes will play a pivotal role in the future of our campus community and Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics,” Maggard said in an interview with UL Athletics. “Our Lady of Lourdes is one of the most vital organizations in Lafayette, as well as across Acadiana, and we are extremely grateful to join in this partnership to create a first-class game day experience for Cajun Nation and our student-athletes.”
“The soonest any type of demolition could happen would be after the 2022 season,” Maggard said, “but you do have to have all of your financing in place before you can start to tear anything down.”
Maggard does believe that they have the majority of the funds that they need, but he is still unclear as to when they will start the project.
“We’re way more than halfway (with financing.) We just have to work out any and all details with the lender and finalize what we need still to qualify for the line of credit, so to speak, that it will take to get us going. So we’re not far. But, at the same time, it’s hard to put a definitive timeline on it,” he said.
“The second phase would be the club and coaches’ offices (now,)” Maggard said, “but (coach Matt Deggs’) priority is the player development piece.”
The Vermilion reached out to UL Lafayette’s Associate Director of Athletics for Communication and Strategy Josh Brunner for this story. He did not respond to a request for comment.