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Seniors and students react to temporarily taken down sign in front of Tiger Stadium

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BATON ROUGE - A few letters are missing from the north end zone of Tiger Stadium, and they won't be back for a while.

LSU Athletics started its demolition this week of the iconic purple and gold LSU sign that faces the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Graduating seniors and students have voiced their frustrations upon learning of the sign's temporary removal and the headache it has caused with construction.

"It's hard to get to classes when there's construction going on all over campus," said Angela Romero Barron, a LSU senior set to graduate this August. "And they don't really let you know ahead of time because I feel like something like this, it's something they should have told you ahead of time that they were gonna do."

Romero Barron isn't the only LSU senior who is frustrated by the lack of communication from LSU Athletics.

Victoria Wilches, a fellow LSU senior, didn't notice the sign was torn down until she looked up through the canopy of trees on North Stadium Drive and saw the white panels sans purple and gold. Wilches was taken aback and frustrated, not because the sign was torn down but because there was no notice.

"It doesn't necessarily anger me that they're taking it down, it's more so giving us a heads up than anything," Wilches said.

The senior was anticipating taking her graduation photos on the ramp of the PMAC with Death Valley in the background, and she said she would have moved her photos up ahead of time if she had known of the sign's tearing down.

"It would've been nice to get an email explaining when they were taking it down, how long it would be down and stuff like that... just so we could plan ahead of time to take pictures before it's down," Wilches said.

LSU Athletics announced in November 2023 that fan experience upgrades would be coming ahead of celebrating the 100th season at Tiger Stadium. One of the upgrades, a new videoboard in the north end zone, was originally met with excitement among the LSU fan base, but to students who walk the sidewalks outside of Death Valley every day to class, it's a hassle. 

Senior Lillian Powell was set to take graduation photos with her friends on the PMAC ramp in April. The fact that she can no longer take those photos is the icing on the cake for the 2020 high school graduate, who did not have a normal graduation. Powell's disappointment is reasonable, but even more so is her annoyance toward the construction.

"This semester, there seems to be a lot of construction, more than usual," Powell said. "Right to, from class, going everywhere that I need to be, there's some construction I have to avoid and it's definitely an inconvenience."

As Powell walked to her research math class, she teetered on the ledge of the sidewalk in front of the stadium, a ledge that provides about a width of a foot of concrete between passing cars and pedestrians. She, and her fellow Tigers, had to step into the street with oncoming traffic to avoid the barricaded construction.

LSU said in a statement that they missed the communication window to send a notice to students, but they had planned on sending out information for what students could expect in the coming weeks.

"We planned to send something out this week with the expectation that the signage would be up for another couple of weeks," LSU Athletics said. "However, the contractor needed to revise the time frame and needed the back of the scoreboard to come down sooner, so we missed our window to communicate."

"It's just kind of disappointing," Romero Barron said about the lack of notice. "... They are doing this without notice because usually, when it's time for graduation, LSU will send out an email that says to make sure not to throw confetti or anything to not disturb Mike the Tiger. And it's like, 'You can send us an email out for that, but you can't send an email out to let us know that our graduation photos will be ruined?'"

The demolition is expected to take three weeks, and the signage is set to be completed and back in its original yet new glory by August — in time for football season, but not in enough time for seniors parting ways with their beloved LSU.

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