315 to left.
370 to left-center.
385 to straightaway.
340 to the scoreboard in right-center.
325 to the foul pole in right.
The tornado that ripped through Ruston in the early hours of April 25th destroyed J.C. Love Field beyond repair. The roof crumbled, the scoreboard fell, and the structure was eventually condemned.
But what do you do when something is destroyed? You rebuild it, but better.
That’s exactly what Louisiana Tech intends to do, and the planning stages have already started. Three sites have been reported as locations Tech is considering for the new stadium:
- Its current spot
- Intramural field next to the soccer stadium
- Rugby field across Tech Drive from Lambright
#1 seems like the obvious choice, but there is a problem. Before you can build a new stadium, Tech would need to tear down the current one. And judging by how long the condemned dorms near Cottingham have stood, we could be waiting a while.
There are problems with the other two sites as well:
Like you’d expect, the fields needed to be rotated to allow them to fit in the suggested locations. Even still, Suggestion #2 (bottom left) doesn’t leave room to build the stands around the field, and Suggestion #3 (top) requires a demolishing Stadium Drive and total reworking of traffic around Joe Aillet Stadium. Because it’s just too easy to leave after a football game as it is.
Needless to say, none of the suggestions are good enough.
So in typical gtpdd fashion, I’d like to suggest a few alternatives that might
not be worth looking into.
Suggestion #4: Quad Stadium
The three reported sites did a good job of finding areas around Tech’s athletic campus to build the new athletic building. But but if we took a look at the campus core?
Unfortunately, Tech never really planned on having their baseball stadium destroyed, so there aren’t many baseball field sized plots of land to build on.
But the quad is almost perfectly shaped liked the current baseball field. So maybe this was the plan the whole time?
Like Suggestion #2 above, there’s no room for stands, but the roofs of the Bookstore and Student Center are flat enough to support some sort of bleachers. And just imagine watching a game from the 16th floor of Wyly.
If you’re wondering where the Lady of the Mist went, she now permanently plays second base.
Suggestion #5: I-20 Stadium
After exhausting the options on campus, I started to look for areas around Ruston that were large, flat, and green:
Some of the largest of these mostly empty plots were interstate interchanges. The only downside are the pesky roads running through them.
The US-162 (Trenton and Vienna) exit is the best option out of the three exits because we wouldn’t need to tear down the overpasses to build the stadium. We can fit the field between Trenton and Vienna. But unfortunately, we would still need to remove the interstate.
But this might be a blessing in disguise for the city. If everyone travelling down I-20 had to exit in Ruston to go around a random stadium blocking traffic, more people would probably end up spending money in Ruston.
Building a baseball stadium in the middle of an interstate may be the best economic idea anyone’s ever had.
Suggestion #6: Walmart Stadium
Okay, so at this point, I’ll admit I was starting to run out of ideas:
While Ruston is not an overly developed city, there aren’t many places around where we could just plop a collegiate baseball field.
For the Quad Stadium suggestion, I mentioned building bleachers on top of the Bookstore and Student Union. So if we’re already talking about building structures on top of buildings, why not just build the entire park on one.
And Ruston does have one building that could (literally) support a baseball field: the cultural mecca that is Walmart.
This way, at least nobody could complain about parking.
While I’m sure any of the original three possible locations would work well for a future JC Love Field 2.0, I can’t help but feel like we’re missing an opportunity to really build something for our future.
A future where everyone asks “What the hell were they thinking?”