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Mike’s New Pad and Other Athletic Construction at LSU

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Multiple projects wrapping up as the Fall Semester approaches

Earlier this week LSU announced that the annual pre-season Fan Day festivities would not be held this year due to multiple on-going construction projects that LSU is trying to get wrapped up before the fall semester begins. They also announced that going forward, Fan Day will instead be held around the Spring Game weekend. If you’re looking for this year’s set of posters and scorecards, you can pick them up in the lobby of the AD building right now.

So, what are these construction projects? You probably know about the renovation work going on in Mike’s cage, but what else is being worked on? Helpfully, LSU has been releasing photo galleries the last couple of weeks showing off these construction projects.

(All photos are from LSUSports.net, the galleries are linked below)

Mike’s Habitat

While LSU is without a Mike, it’s the best time to do major renovation and construction on his habitat. Most notably, the center pole holding up the protective netting has been made into a faux tree so that it more naturally blends in with the surroundings. There are some lighting and plumbing upgrades going in to make maintenance tasks easier. LSU is also building Mike a special rock perch.

The addition most likely to please both Mike and his fans is a roughly 100-square-foot synthetic rock that uses glycol to stay cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather, said Emmett David, an associate athletic director in charge of the habitat renovations. Because Baton Rouge gets a lot more of the former, the rock’s temperature will give Mike a comfortable perch in full view of those who come to see him.

As for the rock’s location, the new tiger mascot can thank his predecessor.

“Mike VI stayed at this one little spot, and if you look back through photos, he enjoyed this one spot," David said. "He would always put his back toward the waterfall, because he knew it was protected back there, and he kept his face toward the glass. I think that was a natural way of protecting himself.”

This story in The Advocate also details some of the refurbishments going on in Mike’s night house that the public wont see.

New PMAC Video Board

Back in July, LSU updated the PMAC with the largest video board in college basketball. They’ve also added some video ribbons around the entry arches for some extra flair.

Hey Penny, how do we feel about how LSU will use the new board?

That’s about right.

South Endzone Dormitory Demolition

Before

After

If you’re a denizen of the lower South Endzone like me, there are some radical changes ahead this football season. The South Endzone Dormitory, part of the legendary and semi-apocryphal tale of Huey Long’s “creative” legislative work to build Tiger Stadium into a football palace, has been completely removed. The Old South Dorms had been completely encased during the construction of the new South End Club seating section. Now, the lower south endzone concourse is massively expanded and will have some additional food and beverage options this year, along with drastically improving the foot traffic flow in and out of the stadium.

Bathrooms in Tiger Stadium are also being resurfaced and getting a fresh coat of paint.

5th Floor Media Center

Something only a few folks will really notice, but this year the weekly Monday lunch press briefings will be in a different location as LSU is doing some major renovations and tech upgrades to the 5th floor room you have seen in so many press conferences. They’re working on a big expansion of the live video production facilities to better serve the current and future needs of the SEC Network.

Football Indoor Facility

After years of football, marching band, and all kinds of other practices, LSU’s indoor has a new filed turf in place and new LED lighting, removing the loud buzzing noise that the old lighting system caused on player interviews in the building.

Beach Volleyball

With the Tennis teams moving into the brand new facility across the street from Alex Box Stadium, I’ve wondered what was going to be done with the old “Dub” Robinson Stadium. If you never went, it’s located on the north side of campus between the PMAC and the Natatorium, next to the old location of Tiger softball and the northern edge of campus. With Gymnastics getting it’s own facility and new dorm construction, space in that area is getting tight these days. Based on these photos, at least part of the still standing stadium will be turned into a permanent home for the varsity Beach Volleyball team, who currently have to travel across town to some sand courts off of Sherwood Forrest Blvd.

Fieldhouse

Part of the reason Fan Day had to be canceled is that even the Fieldhouse is in the middle of some major work. I don’t have any details, but it would appear the space formerly used by the gymnastics team is being cleared out and built up for new offices and storage.

Bernie Moore Track Resurfacing

I’m not sure how frequently it happens, but it seems every few years the outdoor track stadium gets resurfaced. Given the large amount of high-school, college, and international meets and training that it hosts on a yearly basis, combined with spending summers under the Louisiana sun, it’s not too surprising that it wears out frequently.

Even more photos of campus athletic construction, including work on the Natatorium roof can be seen at the following links.

Maravich Center Videoboard Construction

Athletic Construction July 24th, 2017

Athletic Construction July 31, 2017

Athletic Construction August 7th, 2017

Athletic Construction August 14th, 2017