Bertman making pitch to get upgrade for LSU baseball team AD set to propose new $23 million Alex Box Wednesday, January 12, 2005 By Jim Kleinpeter Staff writer BATON ROUGE -- Calling it the "next logical step" for LSU's nationally recognized baseball program, Athletic Director Skip Bertman said Tuesday he'll propose to the Board of Supervisors that the school build a new 8,000-seat stadium that would open in time for the 2008 season. Bertman and other athletic department officials have been contemplating upgrading or replacing Alex Box Stadium for the past several years. After studying the possibilities they settled on building a new one, which would be located at the corner of Gourrier Lane and Nicholson Drive, about a half-mile south of the current stadium site. If approved, construction would begin in August 2006. "This is the next logical step in building upon the success of our baseball program," said Bertman, who built the program into a national powerhouse as baseball coach for 17 years. "LSU fans, the best baseball fans in America, deserve the best college stadium in America. "Alex Box Stadium is a treasure, and this was no easy decision. We studied a number of proposals and considered the pros and cons of renovating the Box or building a new facility. A new stadium is in the best interests of the long-term future of LSU baseball and our campus master plan." The structure, which will keep the name Alex Box Stadium, is expected to cost $23 million. It will be financed from a combination of the sale of revenue bonds and private donations. The bonds will be repaid through baseball income, Bertman said. Renovating the old stadium would have cost $15 million, but would have taken three years. The construction would have been a great inconvenience for fans, Bertman said, while forcing LSU to find an alternate site to play games and practice for parts of those three years. Alex Box Stadium was built in the 1930s and has undergone several upgrades over the years. Bertman also said a new stadium would provide fan amenities not otherwise possible at the old site. It would offer more spacious seating, more concourse area for improved concession stands and restrooms, and upgraded locker-room facilities for players and parking for fans. All of the seats in the main grandstand would be chairback style, and the grandstand would be covered as in the current stadium. The stadium area would be designed to allow for future expansion. Enhanced press facilities, club seating and private suites also would be included. All current season ticket-holders will be allowed to buy seats in a similar locale as in the old stadium. "There is no greater atmosphere for college baseball than at Alex Box Stadium," said LSU baseball coach Smoke Laval. "We're very excited about the modernization process and the benefits it will produce for our fans and players. "We cherish all of the unforgettable moments we've shared in Alex Box Stadium, and we're looking forward to creating more in the new stadium." Bertman said the Tiger Athletic Foundation would finance the tearing down of the old stadium once the new one is finished. He said the university's original master plan provided for two buildings on the old site, one for biomedical research and the other for nuclear science. Until those buildings are built, Bertman said the area probably would be used for parking.