LSU shows off nearly complete end zone

Joe Alleva glanced over the row of seats, beyond the metal railing, past the two levels of suites and way, way down to the south end zone of Tiger Stadium.

“You’re right on top of it,” Alleva said, wearing dark sunglasses and a protective LSU hardhat.

“Thought we would be too far back of the field,” LSU’s athletic director continued. “We’re not.”

LSU showed off its multimillion dollar makeover to 90-year-old Tiger Stadium on Tuesday, ushering reporters around the 320,000-square-foot addition to the south end zone.

Completion of the addition is set for Aug. 22, when crews will deliver food and other materials for the two levels of suites and the above club level. Remaining work includes painting, cleaning and other minor projects, officials said.

“We will be done by Aug. 22,” said Emmett David, associate athletic director for facilities and project development.

About 300 workers Tuesday pounded away in the four-level addition: two suite levels, club level and a 1,400-seat general admission section above the club floor.

The exterior of the addition is days from completion.

Between the 40-foot-high HD video screens are two ribbon LED boards stretching from one end of the new expanded end-zone section to the other. One board is stripped above the club level and another below one of the suite levels.

The ribbon boards on the east and west sides of the stadium will be replaced to match the new ribbon boards. The boards will be a place for advertisements, closed captions, score updates and more.

A “Welcome To Death Valley” sign crawls across the new addition. The sign will illuminate through LEDs, David said.

“It’s really nice to see it come to life,” Alleva said, walking around the structure. “It’s turned out better than I thought it would turn out on the plans. When I first looked at the plans, I was a little bit skeptical about a few things. The architects have done a tremendous job designing this project.”

The exterior of the new expansion will be illuminated in purple and gold lighting to match the exterior of the north end zone.

“It will show off the architecture,” said Eddie Nunez, associate A.D. for internal affairs and development.

LSU’s listed seating capacity of 102,321 does not include standing-room only, Alleva said. That number does, however, include stadium and concession workers and the teams and personnel.

“That’s what other schools have done,” Alleva said. “That’s why we’ve done that.”

In all, LSU is adding about 8,000 tickets for a game. That includes 3,518 in the suites and 3,000 in the club level along with another 1,400 in the general admission seats.

LSU will make an additional $14 million from the south end zone expansion premium seats.

All of the premium seating in the club and suite levels are sold, Alleva said.

“All of these suites and clubs were presold before we put a shovel in the ground,” he said. “If we didn’t have the demand, we wouldn’t have built it.”

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