LAFAYETTE — With slightly less than two months remaining until its expected completion date, Tier I of the Louisiana-Lafayette Athletics Facilities Master Plan is coming along right on schedule.
Both the Student Athlete Performance Center and soccer-track complex should be finished by Sept. 1 as was originally planned, Athletic Director Scott Farmer said Wednesday.
“We meet almost weekly now with the contractor, and they still have a lot of work to do, but I have no doubt that they’re going to get these projects done,” Farmer said.
The project should be completed in time despite the fact that the weather has not cooperated, with nearly 40 inches of rain falling in Lafayette in 2015 according to the National Weather Service. Farmer said the Lafayette-based Lemoine Company was selected to construct the facilities, in part, because of its ability to meet a deadline.
“Lemoine has a tremendous record of getting projects done in a timely fashion,” he said.
The 85,000 square foot Athlete Performance Center, which is being built as an addition to the Leon Moncla Indoor Training Facility on Reinhardt Drive, will include an expansive weight room and athletic training area in addition to housing the football locker room and serving as the office space for the football coaching staff.
While the project is coming along on schedule, its proximity to the current coaching offices and team locker room — which are located across the street — has made coach Mark Hudspeth feel as if the project has dragged on.
“I hate being right here by it because you see it every day,” Hudspeth said. “I try not to go in there too often because it seems like it’s not moving fast enough for me.”
Hudspeth estimates the performance center to be 90 percent completed, with most of the remaining work being cosmetic — like “laying carpet and putting door knobs on.”
What he’s seen so far has him giddy.
“It’s going to be unbelievable,” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth said the performance center’s impact should be threefold.
“One, perception-wise, it’s going to add a lot to our program,” he said. “Two, it’s going to help us train our current student athletes much better, with much better meeting space, much better strength and conditioning space. And three, it’s going to help us recruit to an even higher level.
“To me, it’s going to help level the playing field because the playing field has been pretty lopsided for the last five years in recruiting when it comes to facilities.”
Football wasn’t the only program in need of a facilities upgrade, though. Farmer said the soccer/track complex was included in the initial phase of the master plan because it affects athletes across seven sports — four of which are women’s sports.
“This is a facility that houses a high percentage of our athletes, and we had some really dire situations,” Farmer said. “Heck, our soccer offices weren’t even down there, they were on campus. Our locker room situation was not very good.
“That’s one of the reasons it got stuck in Tier I, because we wanted to get that done and take care of those athletes and those programs.”
Up next on the master plan is Tier II, which includes renovations to M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Farmer said the plan is coming along, but some fundraising needs to occur before it starts to take shape.
A public fundraising campaign doesn’t have a definitive start date, but Farmer said it will likely commence at some point in late summer or mid-fall.
“The bottom line is we’ve got money to raise,” Farmer said. “So we’ve got to get out there, (baseball coach Tony) Robichaux and I and the whole fundraising team, we’re all out there trying to get this magic number so we can make sure this project keeps moving forward.”