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When major Cajun Field stadium renovation might start for Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football

Tim Buckley, The Advertsier, Oct. 7, 2021

UL’s long-planned major renovation at Cajun Field could begin sometime next summer, athletics director Bryan Maggard said.

“If we can get the design done by next summer and then start turning earth over then,” he told The Daily Advertiser on Wednesday, “that would be ideal for us.”

UL announced this week receipt of a $2 million contribution for the project from IBERIABANK, a division of First Horizon Bank, through the Louisiana First Horizon Foundation.

The pledge secures naming rights to the stadium’s west concourse and future athletics administration offices.

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Renovation components include a new west-side tower with suite level that will have approximately 20 suites, a full club level, loge boxes and a new press box, along with a new videoboard, a new sound system and new lighting.

Maggard hopes renovation can be completed in time for the start of the 2023 season. That means construction may be ongoing throughout the 2022 season.

“We’ve already communicated with (seat-holders) on the west side that some level of displacement will occur for the ’22 season should the plan stay on track,” Maggard said.

Current Cajun Field capacity is listed at 41,426.

Available seating will contract after renovation, but Maggard said “we still should be well over 35,000; it’s all to-be-determined.”

The IBERIABANK/First Horizon money is the third major project pledge UL has announced this year.

The school previously sold stadium naming rights to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center for $15 million over 15 years. It later announced receipt of a “seven-figure donation” from MacLaff, Inc., which owns and operates multiple McDonald’s throughout South Louisiana.

The First Horizon pledge “really moved the needle forward for us as we try to conclude the fundraising component,” Maggard said.

Maggard said the project is “still in the fundraising mode,” but that “we have enough cash in hand to get things started.”

“We know we need about $42 million to really feel very comfortable,” he said, “and I would tell you just from a fundraising standpoint we’re around $32 million.”

The $32 million figure includes cash and pledges, with pledges being a higher percentage. The Lourdes, MacLaff and First Horizon money accounts for at least $18 million of the $32 million, according to Maggard.

Maggard projects another $20 million will come from premium seat sales, including suites, club seats and the loge boxes.