Changes are coming to Tiger Stadium — to the restrooms, concession stands and, at some point, the south end zone dormitories.
LSU plans to spend the next two years creating additional restrooms and concessions while renovating and potentially expanding the existing ones in the venue, which is about to host its 93rd season of football.
Officials are also evaluating the long-term future of the south end zone dormitories, even toying with the idea of demolishing them to provide a more “open” area to fans, said Eddie Nunez, LSU’s deputy director of athletics.
“Is there an opportunity to come back and demo the whole south dorms? It might happen this year, might happen next year,” Nunez said in an interview with The Advocate. “One of those things we’re looking at is trying to continue to make the experience for our fans (better). When they come in Tiger Stadium, that it’s not a very confined space. We can open it up and make it more interesting.”
Crews have finished cleaning out the south end zone and other dormitories in the stadium. Some of the now-empty dorms are options to house new concessions or restrooms, Nunez said. The wait time at concessions and restrooms is a contentious topic among fans, something they’ve voiced to the administration in surveys the program distributed more than a year ago.
There is no budget or detailed plans for the two-year project, Nunez said, but it will likely unfold in phases and begin after this football season. Much, if not all, of the work will come during the offseasons following the 2016 and 2017 seasons, a reason the school announced last week that the stadium won’t host Bayou Country Superfest the next two years. The multi-day country music festival was held at Tiger Stadium from 2010 through this summer.
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“We’re not recreating Tiger Stadium. It’s an iconic stadium,” Nunez said. “How can we do business in there and still be able to get our fans what they’re looking for? It’s been a year and a half process of going through and designing and what possibilities may exist in the stadium.
“We’ve listened to our fans. We hear restrooms are a concern, concessions,” he continued. “We want to expedite both of those processes.”
How’s that done? Adding more and renovating the existing concessions and restrooms.
“We’re looking at every nook and cranny in the stadium, where can we add more restrooms, where can we make it more efficient,” he said.
Concessions and restrooms will both get face-lifts. For example, televisions in atriums and near concessions will likely be replaced with flatscreens. LSU might add digital menu boards, too.
A couple of years ago, the program installed an antenna system in the stadium to assist with cellular service, but only phone calls, not data. Wireless internet enhancement is in the school’s long-term plans.
“It isn’t something we’re going to do this coming year because it is a very cumbersome project,” Nunez said.
Architects, meanwhile, have given athletic officials potential ideas if the south dorms were demolished. The dorms, built in 1953, are on the first few levels, well beneath the school’s 2-year-old south end zone addition and beneath the existing south end zone lower bowl.
“That’s something we are actively looking at. If that comes down, what happens?” Nunez asked. “You start looking … is it financially feasible for us to do that and what’s the benefit? That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”