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Athletics: Cajundome upgrade funding gets go-ahead

Claire Taylor, The Advertiser, February 19, 2015


Cajundome renovations, including the addition of lower-level seating, will be funded through the sale of bonds, which was authorized by the State Bond Commission Thursday.

The commission gave permission to Ragin Cajun Facilities Inc., a nonprofit corporation established to help build facilities for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, to sell up to $20 million in revenue bonds to design, renovate, equip and furnish an upgrade to the Cajundome arena, Director Greg Davis said.

The construction project is expected to cost about $16.7 million, he said.

Construction began on the Cajundome in 1981. The arena opened nearly 30 years ago, on Nov. 10, 1985, and hosted its first concert, featuring country music legend Kenny Rogers, the next day.

The work will include changing the lower-level seating in the arena, which is telescopic seating that’s 30 years old and in disrepair, Davis said.

"They don’t even make the parts anymore," he said.

The lower level of the arena will be redesigned with a mixture of permanent and new telescopic seating that will allow for the addition of seats, Davis said. For a UL basketball game, for example, the new arrangement will increase seating from 11,200 to 12,000.

The Cajundome’s roofing will be re-coated, restrooms and concession stands will be rehabilitated and the lighting in the dome will be replaced, Davis said.

Some work can begin soon, such as the roofing. Much of the interior work will take place next summer. The facility will be closed between May and October, after graduations, he said.