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Drainage improvements underway at Tiger Stadium

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BATON ROUGE - LSU's season might be over, but the work inside Tiger Stadium is not done yet. Crews have ripped up the turf and other layers underneath to make upgrades to the drainage system.

"It's like your tires in your car, they always degrade," LSU's Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Project Development Emmett David said. "The more walk, the more you work, the more you drive on top of it, the more you cut the grass, it just compacts down."

While Death Valley's turf is replaced every few years, the field hasn't looked like this since 1992. 

"We're virtually mucking down or going down, approximately 18 to 20 inches," David said. "Putting subsurface drainage and then replacing on top of that a four-inch gravel fill and a 12-inch capillary barrier."

These drainage upgrades will help the stadium's ground crew control where the water goes during heavy rain. On wet game days, players and coaches will see vast improvements under the new system.

"If you get a four-inch rain the day of a game, it has enough capacity, we feel, to hold underneath the turf and move out of the system," David said. "Now you're not standing in water. It's not a safety hazard. This gives us the ability to capture that water, get it below grade and move it out."

The nearly $3 million project has been in the works for three to four years.  Immediately following LSU's final home game this season, work finally got started.

"We were bid, ready to go on the morning after our last home game of Texas A&M," David said. "So on virtually December 1st, we hit the field. We had all of our materials on board and on-site and the contractors started working that morning."

With everything already ripped up, crews are in the "put back" phase.    Officials say they have completed roughly 35% of the project, but add they'll need every possible day to make sure the field is in tiptop shape by the time the season starts.

"That game, that ball is going to be kicked off in September," David said. "We're going to be ready."

Turf is expected to be laid down in early May, with the entire project anticipated to wrap up in August.

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