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Athletics: Indoor Facility a Cornerstone

LAFAYETTE � Every Ragin’ Cajun athlete at UL Lafayette is eager to see ground broken on the school’s new indoor practice facility, because they know it can only improve their performance.

That project, a cornerstone in the school’s drive to upgrade its athletic facilities, is entering the planning stages.

�The university sent a check to the state for $300,000 for bids on selecting an architect for the indoor facility," athletic director Nelson Schexnayder said.

�It’s a state project, and that selection process should take two to six months. When we get someone to design it, then we’ll see just what we can put in it for the amount of money we have.

�It will be a multi-purpose facility, and we’re going to be looking at what we need and what we want in it."

Schexnayder has consulted with Cajun coaches in various sports to determine their needs, and found baseball could use a batting facility, football needs a place to get in out of the rain and basketball needs a consistent place to practice.

�There’s also the question of track and field, and what would be involved for either working out or for holding meets," Schexnayder said. �Is that feasible? When you look at it, it’s a building that will be served by football, baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and track.

�Once we recognized that there was a crying need for fund-raising, then we looked at what we’d like to see."

The L-shaped indoor practice facility will be located on current practice field territory between the tennis and softball venues, positioned to maintain an attractive, consistent look to the complex.

Turning west on Reinhardt Drive, construction has begun on the new track and field/soccer complex where Cajun Track used to be. The old track has been torn up and drainage work for the soccer field is next.

�The soccer surface was a real need," Schexnayder said, �and we already had seats and lights in place for it. We needed to get the soccer drainage done before pouring the track.

�The track had to be done. There were a number of bubbles in it. I think we have an October completion date for it, and if we get good weather, maybe sooner."

Finding some way to name the track after longtime coach Charles Lancon is also being considered.

�Certainly, we’ve talked about that," Schexnayder said.

That would be a fitting tribute, since Lancon made a habit of winning conference titles and producing All-Americans while using a facility in drastic need of upgrades.

©The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
April 18, 2004