As an LSU student in the 1960s, some of my fondest memories are of time spent at the Long Field House, the original student union. It was one of the original buildings on the LSU Campus built in 1932 with a ballroom, soda fountain, post office, beauty parlor, barber shop and outdoor swimming pool.
The architecture gave the appearance of a “Roman Bath,” and was built to have the longest pool in the country per Huey Long’s dream to build the best university in the United States.
The fieldhouse was designed by the same firm that built the State Capitol and the Old Governor’s Mansion. The building is on the State Registry and National Registry that acknowledges the work of a master designer and possesses high artistic value. But since the 1960s, the Huey P. Long pool began a steady decline.
Because of lack of regular maintenance and upkeep the pool was drained and finally closed around 1999. It is now a chained-up eyesore that to my knowledge is the last abandoned building on campus. Other abandoned buildings on campus have been restored to new lives, notably the “Swine Palace,” now a wonderful theater transformed from a pig show barn.
With the terrible condition of state higher education funding, public support would seem to be out of the question. Other private funding sources must step forward. One possibility is the Tiger Athletic Foundation, which has millions of endowment dollars. They could fund a restoration that would be just as financially viable as the south stadium addition.
Pregame and postgame parties, a restaurant and other amenities would generate revenue on game days. Swimming fees, food sales and receptions could provide revenue during the week. It is criminal to let this treasured piece of architecture in the center of campus decay further when it could be transformed into a showplace unlike anything on any other campus in the United States.