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Construction on an intramurals sports building at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is projected to be complete this summer.
The 2,500-square-foot building will house equipment storage space, lockers, a classroom, an office, and restrooms. It will serve as a check-in point for students who visit the complex to play or practice.
The work is the first phase of a project to create an intramurals complex on about 20 acres along Coliseum Road, near Blackham Coliseum. The complex will have fields where the UL Lafayette’s outdoor intramural and club sports will hold games and practices.
“The University is in the process of working on a comprehensive plan for the complex that will include lighted, multi-use fields, and a jogging path,” said Dave Suter, UL Lafayette’s director of Recreational Sports.
The complex will provide a hub for the University’s outdoor intramural and club sports. Teams now practice and play at a range of locations, including two narrow, heavily-used fields near Bourgeois Park that can’t accommodate sports that require more space, such as soccer or rugby. Some teams use borrowed or rented space.
“Our teams and clubs are all over the place,” Suter explained. “We can’t fit all of them on our existing fields and, since most recreational sports activity happens after 5 p.m., lights will be key.”
The number of students who play intramurals and club sports continue to rise, Suter said.
More than 2,800 students, on 310 teams, participated in intramurals sports during the 2014-15 academic year. Another 274 students, on 14 teams, participated in club sports.
In the 2013-14 academic year 2,363 students, on 263 teams, participated in intramurals. Club sports participation was 220 students, on 14 teams.
Club sports and intramurals are both recreational sports. Club sports teams typically play other colleges. They aren’t, however, official University sports sanctioned by the NCAA. Teams are self-funded and in charge of their own scheduling.
Intramurals teams, on the other hand, compete only against squads composed of other University students, with scheduling and funding provided by the school.
Intramurals and club sports at UL Lafayette can run the gamut, from traditional sports, such as flag football or softball, to less conventional sports such as dodgeball or Frisbee.
An intramurals sports complex is part of the University’s Master Plan, which will guide campus growth, development and change over the next 15-20 years. The building will cost about $500,000. It will be funded with self-assessed student fees.
Bill Crist, UL Lafayette’s director of facility management, said once the building has been completed, the next phase of the project will be to install lighting.
“We’re trying to do low impact lighting that will minimize light pollution, and, once the project goes out to bid, the hope would be to get lighting installed within the next six months or so,” Crist said.