McNeese Diamond Disaster - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

McNeese Diamond Disaster

January 19, 2007
Reported by Vince Atkinson

The McNeese baseball stadium may look fine from the outside, but it is anything but safe for public use.   The facility has just been condemned.   Problems with the stadium are nothing new, but this is the first time officials at the university have been told that the baseball stadium could be dangerous.   Ironically, it is the very people who are McNeese baseball fans that could have helped contribute to the down fall of the current stadium.

The Cowboys stadium looks great on the surface, but behind the scenes it is a different story.   The steel structure holding up the seats of the stadium looks a bit like Swiss cheese.   Rust has eaten away at the entire underside of the facility.   This is an engineering problem officials first detected several years ago.  McNeese Director of Facilities Richard Rhodeen said, "We knew that we were getting ready to change it out anyway." 

The stadium is only a little over 20 years old, so why is this problem already taking place?  The answer is complex, but in part baseball fans unknowing contributed to the problem.   The salt from snacks purchased at the snack bar helped turn the steal beams under the stadium into a rusty mess. Cowboys Baseball Coach Chad Clement said, "We will be back at the top, you know in the conference, with our facilities, all the way around with our stadium and everything."   Despite the problems, the Cowboys coach is looking forward to the new stadium that will soon be constructed.

The McNeese baseball season will go on as usual, the only difference will be temporary seating during 2007.   Construction on the replacement stadium is expected to be completed by no later than this time next year.   The total cost is expected to be around $450,000.00.

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