As Huey P. Long was sworn in as Governor of Louisiana in 1928, it became apparent that his influence would affect the growth of LSU and his style would change Louisiana forever. Joining forces with LSU President Thomas Wilson Atkinson, they began searching for ways to obtain funding to build new campus facilities for LSU's growing student population.
A high priority was a facility for large student gatherings. To stretch LSU's dollars, President Atkinson proposed a combination Gym/Armory and secured a quarter million dollars from the legislature for its construction.
Completed in 1930 and built on the edge of the bluff that runs through campus, the main floor was the gymnasium and the lower floor was the armory. Both floors were located on ground level. The gym had a stage at one end and could be converted into an auditorium holding four thousand folding chairs on the floor level and another fifteen hundred in the balcony. Without the chairs, it provided an open space for dances and basketball games. The second floor provided space for locker rooms, trophy rooms and a dance studio.
Over the years, the original building was renovated many times. The 20 foot ceilings were dropped to 8 and 9 foot ceilings to accommodate air conditioning, covering the top portion of many of the windows. In evaluating the old building, Trahan Architects worked to determine how new programs designated for the building could enjoy the larger and higher volumes of the original space.
Present Day - Academic Hall of Fame
In the fall of 2000, LSU's head football coach Nick Saban had a vision. His idea was to create an academic center that would house the best academic support program, state-of-the-art technology and unique blend of study environments to create leaders on and off the field. Coach Saban looked to Richard Manship, longtime Tiger football booster and CEO of Capital City Press and WBRZ-TV, to head the fundraising for the massive project.
Manship, along with the Tiger Athletic Foundation, put together the Academic Center Development Council who was in charge of locating donors, including themselves. Together with a $5.5 million donation by Cox Communications, more than $14 million was donated by private contributors and supporters of LSU Athletics.
Just two years after its initial concept, the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes was opened on November 15, 2002 with a grand opening gala!
Present Day - Office
Today, the top facility of its kind displays Coach Saban's vision in vibrant colors. Complete with a 1,000 seat Internet accessible auditorium, Tutorial Center, Computer Lab, 2,800 square foot Resource Library, meeting rooms, classrooms, Career Center, Student Learning Center and much more, the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes helps each student-athlete reach his or her academic goals in every possible way.