Upgrades & improvements are on tap for Softball, Baseball, Track & Soccer Facilities.

Major Improvements are planned for UL's softball park, soccer and track complex, and baseball field. "These enhancements will benefit our fans, student-athletes and coaches. And, we're confident they will support our recruiting efforts, too," said Scott Farmer, senior associate athletic director.  Here's a look at changes that are in the works.

Seating capacity will double for Ragin' Cajun home games. The Alfred and Helen Lamson Ragin' Cajuns Softball park now has 1,500 mostly bleacher-style seats.

"We will move the current seating, which is behind home plate, and put it along the out-field fence," Farmer said. Covered, chair-back seating will be installed between the dugouts. Three private sky boxes, each with seating for 12-15 fans, will be added along the top of the new grandstand. Those boxes will have air conditioning and heating. A separate, 40-seat Stadium Club area will enable some fans to sit outdoors during pleasant weather or remain inside a climate-controlled space.

Plans also call for a new scoreboard, new restrooms and larger concession areas. "It will be a more user-friendly, fan-friendly park," Farmer said.

Softball coaches' offices are now in Earl K. Long gymnasium; when the project is complete, their office space will be on site at the park.

In addition to a new locker room, the team will have covered batting cages. Protecting the cages from the elements is essential, said Coach Stefni Lotief, because she wants to create videos while players practice. "We already have a computerized video system. We'll be able to install recording equipment in the cages once those areas are covered."

With the digital recording and editing system, coaches can evaluate game and practice footage – or create virtual matchups of Ragin' Cajun batters and opposing teams' pitchers. A new meeting room, with digital capabilities, will give the team a place to analyze the video it collects and creates.

Farmer said the Athletics Department also kept the media in mind as it planned the improvements. An enlarged press box will include two new radio broadcasting booths and a television broadcasting booth.

If construction progresses according to schedule, the entire project could be complete by the summer of 2010.

There are plans to include an upstairs press room, overlooking the field; it's intended to be used as a conference room, as well. The facility will also include coaches' offices, a concession area and public restrooms.

Offices for soccer coaches are now in Earl K. Long Gymnasium. the improvements will enable those offices to be moved to the soccer and track complex.

In 2004, workers installed a $1.4 million combination track and soccer field. The track surrounds the soccer field. "We already have a beautiful stadium there, a great track surface and a great soccer surface, so these improvements are going to complete the facility," Farmer noted.

The improvements will require the demolition of a small brick building that now houses an office shared by UL's five track coaches, a concession stand and restrooms.

Ragin' Cajun baseball fans may be spending more time at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field after the installation of artificial turf is complete.

The field will also have better drainage than natural turf, so fewer games should be canceled due to rain-soaked field conditions. The new playing surface will also reduce maintenance.

And because the field won't require time to "recover" game to game, "the Tigue" will be available for more events, such as youth baseball tournaments. "The overall result will be to bring more people to the field, to make a stronger connection with Ragin' Cajun fans and the Acadiana community," Farmer said.

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