Renovations To Start At Cajundome On Monday
On Monday, May 23rd the CAJUNDOME arena will start its first major
renovation in thirty-one years. Ground breaking will take place at 12 noon in the
CAJUNDOME arena. Arena operations will cease for approximately six months. The targeted reopening date is December 1st.
The CAJUNDOME opened November 1, 1985. It is owned by the University of
Louisiana at Lafayette (UL). Over the 31 year history of the CAJUNDOME, UL has
enjoyed a great partnership with Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) on the
CAJUNDOME Commission. LCG has provided valuable financial support to the
CAJUNDOME for all 31 years. Their support has been a significant contribution to the
daily operations and to capital repairs and replacements.
Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Incorporated provided the funding mechanism for this $22
million dollar improvement. The locally owned general contractor, J. B. Mouton LLC,
was awarded the construction contract. The Sellers Group and James Broussard &
Associates are the architects. They partnered with Populous, one of the leading arena
design firms in the industry. The CAJUNDOME is fortunate to have such top
professionals leading this significant and most important renovation.
The arena interior will be completely transformed. The thirty-one year old
telescopic seats will be removed. They are far beyond their life expectancy. A
permanent seating structure will be constructed to allow lower level access from
underneath the seats through vomitories. Lower level seating capacity will increase by 1,000. Basketball configurations will be more intimate. The first row of
seats will be right next to the basketball floor instead of 14 feet away as they are now.
They will also be higher by eight inches creating much improved sight lines. New
court-side seats will be available on a newly resurfaced basketball court.
The lower level arena bowl will no longer have large gaps. From center court, the
basketball team will see a completely enveloped lower bowl with an expanded NBA
quality Electro Voice sound system that covers all of the new basketball seating sections.
All of the seats in the upper and lower levels will be replaced. The color scheme
will be black with various shades of gray. All seats will be black and the arena surfaces
will vary from an iron ore gray, to a grizzle gray, to a cityscape gray. Hand rails will be
installed in all aisles up the stairways in the upper bowl of the arena.
The original arena bowl lights were installed in 1985. They are being replaced
with LED lights that will be fully automated with instant on and off capability. The new
LED lights will focus on the performance areas and sporting event areas of the arena and will not bleed into the seating areas as lighting currently does. The dark color scheme will supplement this affect. This feature will create a theatrical experience for concerts, WWE, sporting events, family shows and other live performances. The new LED lights will also meet the standards for nationally broadcast NCAA basketball events. Four new spotlights will supplement this newly created theatrical experience.
The main entrance into the arena will see a major facelift. All south lobby
concession stands are being renovated and upgraded. Concessions will be enlarged to
install cooking equipment. Concession menus will be enhanced to include indigenous
foods and greater quality. Points of sale will increase by 50% for faster service. WOW
Wingery, the CAJUNDOME’s most popular food item, will double in size.
The south lobby ceiling is being raised to create a more appealing area for social
interaction and food services. A state of the art beer distribution system will be
installed for draft beers giving us the ability to offer faster service times and greater
varieties at a perfectly chilled temperature.
All ground level restrooms are being renovated. The tile floors and ceiling tiles
are being replaced, new counter tops installed with new plumbing, toilets, urinals and
Three storage areas will be enclosed that are located underneath the pedestrian
ramps. Equipment will now be protected from the elements. Storage can now be
strategically organized to allow for greater operational efficiencies. A new fire alarm
system is being installed throughout the arena. The First Aid Room is being renovated
and enlarged. It will now accommodate an ambulance gurney.
Patrons will have a new way to access restrooms from the arena. Instead of
walking all the way to the south lobby, they will access restrooms on the east and west
side of the arena through a newly constructed access corridor. The east access corridor will also take you to a 3,000 square foot clubhouse for UL season tickets holders and national touring events.
The CAJUNDOME roof desperately needs re-sealing. This work should have been
done three years ago. Funds were not available then. The roof repairs will begin in
June and the original color will be restored before reopening.
A new wayfinding signage system will be installed along with a graphics package
that includes characteristics to make the arena feel like the home of UL Basketball. The
CAJUNDOME and UL Athletics are currently researching basketball archives to use in the graphics package. The package will tell the story of UL basketball, both men and
women, from their origin through today.
The CAJUNDOME Commission is excited to finally start this renovation of
Acadiana’s marque facility. They look forward to a grand reopening on December 1st.
When the work is finished they will invite the citizens of Acadiana on a tour of their newly