Tiger band has shelter, space with new band hall

22 11 2011
(New Tiger Band Hall Script)

The “Golden Band from Tigerland” has a new place to practice its famous tunes.

The first phase of the new Tiger Band Hall will officially open its doors this week according to LSU Director of Athletic Bands Roy King. The centerpiece of the $10 million building is a rehearsal hall that fits all 325 members of the Tiger Band.

“Before this building was finished, the Tiger Band rehearsed outdoors rain or shine,” King said. “The Tiger Band has never had an indoor space in the history of the Tiger Band that the entire band can assemble and have a rehearsal.”

Finding funds

A view from the outside of the new Tiger Band Hall. Photo by Derek Ochoa.

In a time of budget cuts, finding funds for the project was the toughest obstacle in getting phase one completed.

“There was a $5 million matching funds project with the state,” King said. “The state provided five million so we had to match the five million.”

The LSU Athletic Department contributed $4.5 million of the bands share. Private donors provided the rest according to King.

The support showed by the state and university means a lot to Tiger Band member Greg Renoud.

“It shows how much a part of the university we really are,” Renoud said. “It shows how much the university really cheers us on.”

Moving up

The rehearsal hall is a much-needed upgrade for the Tiger Band.

Built in 1959, the old band hall is only able to hold 120 members. The new rehearsal hall has the same dimensions as a basketball court, and is double the size of the old band hall.

“The reaction for everyone when they first walked in was like they were walking into the Taj Mahal,” Renoud said. “Just wide eyes and gasps. It’s like seeing heaven almost.”

Subtle features in the rehearsal hall, like curtains and wooden grooves, help with acoustics in the room to provide a perfect indoor practice environment.

“With 325 people in [the band hall], you’re going to get a lot of reverberation that we’re not going to get in Tiger Stadium,” Renoud said. “So it’s good to practice with the sound kind of dampened as much as we can.”

“Hell hole” to haven

The building also has much needed storage space for instruments and uniforms.

“We currently have four 18-wheelers out on the side of the practice field for instruments and other equipment because there is simply not enough storage space on site at the old building,” King said.

Space was so limited that equipment was stored in a pump room behind one of the building’s bathrooms.

The new Tiger Band Hall has traditional LSU architecture like covered walkways and arches. Photo by Derek Ochoa.

“We affectionately call it ‘the hell hole’,” King chuckled. “So we won’t have to store our equipment in those areas. We’ll have nice, clean storage space in the new building.”

New building, old look

For King, it was important for the new Tiger Band Hall to fit in with the “look and feel” of LSU’s historic campus.

The outside of the hall features LSU’s famous arches and covered walkways, which match buildings in the quad. The roof is covered in red tiles, which are also featured prominently around campus.

“I think it looks great,” King says. “It looks as beautiful as any other building on campus.”

The observation tower gives LSU Band Director Roy King a bird's-eye-view of the practice field. Photo by Derek Ochoa.

Over the top

Another new feature is a tower overlooking the band’s 120-yard practice field.

Two observation towers allow King to critique the band’s formations as they prepare for halftime performances.

“We’ve never had a permanent tower,” King said. “I can’t imagine any school in our conference, or maybe even in the country, that has a better rehearsal tower for the marching band than our tower.”

More to come

With phase one completed, King now looks forward to the completion of phase two.

It will be another building adjacent to the band hall, which will include the Tiger Band’s administrative offices, classrooms, storage space and an archive room that will serve as a museum for the Tiger Band.

“Once we get phase two built and finished,” King said, “it will be a facility that rivals any in the SEC for sure.”

Listen to “The Golden Band from Tigerland” perform Pregame.mp3

LSU Homecoming Week livens campus, gives back to community

8 11 2011


After almost a year of preparation, the 102nd LSU Homecoming celebration is under way.

“We’ve been working on this for almost a year,” Homecoming Committee Chairperson Tanaya Yidin said. “It’s great to see our hard work really come to life. That’s the exciting part of it.”

One of the important aspects of this years Homecoming Week is “CANapalooza,” a food drive  to support the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Last year the food drive collected 26,000 cans according to Chair of the Homecoming Service Sub-Committee Meredith Keating.

“If every student brought around one can, we would have our goal of 30,000 cans on LSU’s campus,” Keating said. “You think you’re not doing much, but if every other student on campus did that, we would have so many cans.”

Other Homecoming Week activities include a pep rally on Nov. 10, block party on Nov. 11 and a parade on Saturday Nov. 12. Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned at halftime of Saturday’s LSU-Western Kentucky Football game. Students can vote for the Homecoming Court by logging on to PAWS until Thursday Nov 10 at 11:59p.m.

High enrollment leads to new dorms at LSU

20 10 2011
(New LSU Res Hall PKG script)

A new residential hall is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012 to help offset the increase in enrollment at LSU.

“We’ve seen a demand in housing increase as the enrollment increases,” said LSU Residential Life Director Steve Waller. “We’re well under way for completion this fall of 2012.”

The last three freshman classes at LSU have been some of the biggest in the university’s history. In the fall of 2009, LSU had a freshman class of 4,789, a class of 5,481 in the fall of 2010 and an incoming class of 5,490 for the 2011 fall semester.

Another residential hall will be built near Kirby Smith Hall, where some of the Hart Parking Lot currently exists. Waller expects construction to begin the fall of 2012.

“It’ll be just south of the enchanted forest,” Waller said. “We’re in the design phase right now and we’re hoping that will open potentially in 2014 at the earliest, 2015 at the latest”

In the map below, “A” represents the location for the new residential hall currently under construction. It is expected to open for the 2012 fall semester. “B” is where another residential hall is scheduled to be built. Construction for that project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012.

Aspen Heights community lacks bus stop

22 09 2011
(Aspen Heights Bus Route script)

Budget constraints are what’s keeping the Aspen Heights housing community from having its own bus stop on LSU’s Tiger Trails bus line according to LSU Parking and Transportation Director Gary Graham.

“We can only go to the students every four years and ask for an increase,” Graham said. “Three years ago when we did this, Aspen Heights wasn’t on the horizon at all.”

There was confusion among some residents when they moved in to the new housing community. Some thought there wouldn’t be a stop while others thought a bus stop was a done deal.

Aspen Heights Sales and Marketing Manager Erica Moffatt said management clearly stated to potential residents that they were trying to get a stop on a LSU bus line, but stressed nothing was final.

“There are those that took us saying ‘we’re hopeful, we’re optimistic,’ they became hopeful and optimistic too,” Moffatt said. “And it’s easy to turn that positive into, ‘Yeah, we’re on it.’”

Photos taken by Derek Ochoa