BATON ROUGE -- The LSU baseball program moved one step closer Monday toward entering a new era as ground was officially broken at the construction site of the New Alex Box Stadium.
The new stadium will be located at the corner of Nicholson Drive and Gourrier Lane -- about 200 yards south of the current site of Alex Box Stadium -- and will seat 8,700 fans. The stadium is expected to be completed by the fall of 2008, and LSU is scheduled to play its first game in the new facility in February 2009.
LSU officials were joined at Monday’s groundbreaking by representatives of the stadium architects and contractor. The stadium was designed through a combined effort of Grace & Hebert Architects of Baton Rouge and DLR Group of Omaha, Neb. The contractor for the project is Buquet & LeBlanc of Baton Rouge.
“The construction of a new stadium demonstrates LSU’s commitment to our mission of returning the baseball program to a position of prominence,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “This facility will be one of the finest in the country, and it will enhance our players’ ability to compete at the highest level. I also believe our fans will be thrilled with the amenities the new stadium will offer.”
The New Alex Box Stadium will provide the LSU squad with 6,000 additional square-feet of locker and meeting room space, new batting cages and all the resources necessary to field a consistent winner.
The new stadium will also provide a comfortable home for LSU fans with 700 more seats under roof, 7,000 additional square-feet of restroom accommodations, 3,000 additional square-feet of concession stands, expanded ticket booths, an arcade and novelty shop, children's playgrounds, a Hall of Fame and a Club Lounge and 19 luxury suites.
LSU fans may follow the construction phases of the stadium at www.MakeYourPitch.net, the official web site of the New Alex Box Stadium. Fans may also make donations to the project when visiting the web site.
QUOTES FROM ATHLETICS DIRECTOR SKIP BERTMAN AT POST-GROUND BREAKING NEWS CONFERENCE
“This is an important day in LSU athletics, not just in baseball. Tomorrow the bids are open for a softball stadium, and that was delayed a week because of clarifications for bids. Naturally, we wanted to do that also. We feel certain that will be under budgeted. Both of these stadiums have been delayed for years, particularly since (Hurricane) Katrina where the cost has been up 30 to 40 percent.”
“Our fans, particularly those who have tickets today, will be able to compare their tickets with the new Alex Box (Stadium) in October or November of 2008. Naturally, if they are sitting in the third seats from an aisle in the present Alex Box, we don’t know that we can get the exact third seat from the aisle in the next Alex Box. We will get something that is equivalent or very, very similar to the one that they’ve had. We first want to take care of our loyal season ticket holders. I don’t think there is much doubt that the stadium will be ready for first pitch in February of 2009. The pilings have been driven, and they can’t go down any further, which has been very outstanding for us. In other parts of the campus sometimes we sink the pilings. The (Mississippi) River gives you different results.”
“We are still in the process of developing with the Tiger Athletic Foundation for some special seating right in the front and an additional clubhouse for those people who have that kind of seat. We will add some premium seating in some areas of the stadium that will impact the stadium configuration. Existing season ticket holders will still have the opportunity to upgrade if they want the premium seats.”
COMMENTS FROM LSU BASEBALL HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI
“It is such a monumental time for the future of LSU baseball. The past history, the tradition of our program is as great as any baseball program in the country. What great tradition and what great history. I am so proud to be the coach and hopefully to be able to carry on this great tradition of this great university, the greatest university in the country.”
“In today’s day and age, you are talking with young kids that are 17 or 18-year olds. When Skip (Bertman) won his last national championship, these kids were nine and 10-year olds. They have short memories. They weren’t even born when he won his first championship. As much as history and tradition are important, these young kids want to know what the future holds for them. How can they develop their skills to the fullest potential and how can LSU’s program help them have a great experience? Having a facility like this demonstrates to all of these youngsters that we are out there talking to what a tremendous commitment our university has made to its baseball program and how much intertwined our athletic program is with the academics mission and all of the other things a university stands for. This shows how serious we are at having the best baseball program in the country. If I do my job properly and we all do our jobs properly, we are going to go out and recruit the very best players in the country to be able to play in one of the best facilities in the country. It creates a new chapter and more chapters in this great history and tradition that is known as LSU baseball.”