BATON ROUGE -- LSU athletics director Skip Bertman will propose the construction of a new baseball stadium to open in 2008 to the LSU Board of Supervisors, he announced Tuesday.
The stadium would be located at the corner of Nicholson Drive and Gourrier Lane, about 2,000 feet south of the current site of Alex Box Stadium, and would seat approximately 8,000 Tiger baseball fans.
"This is the next logical step in building upon the success of our baseball program," said Bertman, who built the Tiger baseball program as head coach from 1984-2001 and won five national championships. "LSU fans, the best baseball fans in the America, deserve the best college baseball stadium in America.
"Alex Box Stadium is a treasure and this was no easy decision," Bertman said. "We studied a number of proposals and considered the pros and cons of renovating the Box or building a new facility. A new stadium is in the best interests of the long-term future of LSU baseball and our campus Master Plan."
"There is no greater atmosphere for college baseball than at Alex Box Stadium, and that experience will be tremendously enhanced by the new facility," said LSU coach Smoke Laval, who has directed the Tigers to the College World Series in each of the past two seasons. "We're very excited about the modernization process and the benefits it will produce for our fans and players. We cherish all of the unforgettable moments we've shared in Alex Box Stadium, and we're looking forward to creating more memories in the new stadium."
Alex Box Stadium was built in the 1930s and has been renovated and updated a number of times. LSU's proposed Master Plan calls for the stadium to be relocated to permit the expansion of the University's academic facilities.
The new stadium, which will be named Alex Box Stadium, will be paid for by the LSU Athletics Department through a combination of the sale of revenue bonds and private donations. The expected cost of the project is approximately $23 million.
By moving the stadium to a new location, LSU will be able to offer more spacious seating, generous concourse areas for expanded concessions stands and restrooms, as well as better and more spacious practice and dressing facilities for the team and parking for fans.
Adequate press facilities and club seating or private suites will be included in the new facility, plus enhanced lighting for night and televised games. Also, the stadium will be designed to allow for future expansion.
When the stadium opens in 2008, all existing season ticket holders will be assured of receiving similar seats as allowed by the stadium design. All fans with grandstand seats will have the first opportunity to buy grandstand seats in a similar location in the new stadium. The grandstand of the new stadium will be covered by a roof and all grandstand seats will have chair backs.
The decision to build a new stadium was reached after a three-month study by architects to attempt to renovate the existing Alex Box Stadium. The study showed the cost of renovation would be approximately $15 million and would take three years to complete.
"A renovation of the current stadium would not have allowed us to accomplish many of the fan amenities we will be able to provide in a new facility, and it would have restricted future expansion as our fan base grows," Bertman said. "In addition, the time required to renovate the stadium would result in an inconvenience for our fans and would interrupt one baseball season for the LSU team."
The stadium will be located just west of Nicholson Drive and north of Gourrier Lane, across from the LSU Golf Course. The stadium will feature a combination of chair back and bleacher seating.
With approval, construction would begin in August of 2006 with first pitch slated for February of 2008.