photo courtesy of Baton rouge area convention & visitors Bureau
Baton Rouge, Louisiana | June 5–12, 2010
In PaRTneRshIP wITh
the foundation for historical louisiana
Made PossIBLe By The geneRous suPPoRT of
the charles evans hughes Memorial foundation, inc.
2 This page has been intentionally left blank
Preservation Leadership Training®
Baton Rouge, Lousiana June 5-12, 2010
Team Project Objectives and Criteria……………………………………………………………………...5
The Commerce Building Team Project Statement………………………………………….……11
The Commerce Building Team Proposals
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool Team Project Statement……….…..…….45
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool Team Proposals
Green Team………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………55 55
2 This page has been intentionally left blank
Preservation Leadership Training (PLT), is the only continuing education program in
the United States that equips developing preservation leaders with the skills,
knowledge and confidence to make a significant impact in their organizations and
communities. Since PLT was launched in 1990, more than 1,000 state and local
leaders have participated in 28 PLTs in locations across the United States.
The goals of the Preservation Leadership Training program are to increase the
capacity of local preservation organizations and commissions by identifying and
training current and potential leaders; to empower grassroots organizations and local
preservation commissions to achieve preservation successes in their communities; to
create, maintain and support a national network of leaders of the grassroots
preservation movement; and to heighten local understanding and awareness of the
value of preservation and to explore and present new ideas for approaching local
preservation issues in the host community.
Participants learn best by “doing.” The team project provides a vehicle for
participants to apply the lessons learned during the week to real problems and
contribute to preservation activity in the host community. Participants research the
team project through scheduled interviews with community leaders, on-site
investigation, and background materials assembled in advance by National Trust
staff and local partners. The week culminates with a public presentation of their
recommendations on the final day of the program.
In several host communities, team projects have been a critical factor in saving
endangered historic sites. In Fort Collins, Colorado, the team project dealt with the
long vacant downtown Linden Hotel, subject of more than 20 years of dubious
development efforts. The attention the PLT team project brought to the hotel rallied
the community, and today the hotel is rehabilitated and back in business as a multi-
use commercial operation.
In Baton Rouge, 29 PLT participants from 16 states developed proposals that outline
economically viable reuses for the Commerce Building and the Huey P. Long
Fieldhouse and Pool. The teams were asked to develop proposals that outline a reuse
for each of these sites that allowed them to become a renewed contribution to the
City of Baton Rouge.
PLT participants gathered relevant information by reading enormous amounts of
material generously provided by a wide variety of organizations and individuals,
visiting various sites during an afternoon driving tour, and interviewing numerous
community representatives, including:
Paul Arrigo, President & CEO, Baton Rouge Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Emmett David, Director of LSU Facility Development, Louisiana State University
Rachel DiResto, Vice President, Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX)
Bob Dean, Owner of Commerce Building
Lillie Gallagher, Community Activist and Preservationist
Darryl Gissel, FHL Advisor, Downtown Real Estate Investor, Oak Realty
Butch Hart, Owner of Commerce Building Site
Tiffany Johnson, Land Use and Zoning Coordinator, Planning Commission of the
City of Baton Rouge
Danny McGlynn, Attorney and Developer, McGlynn Glisson and Mouton
Ellen Miller, Assistant Director, Planning Commission of the City of Baton Rouge
Walter Monsour, President & CEO, East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority
Camm Morton, CEO, Hilton Capitol Center
Christine Nichols, Downtown Development District Board Member
Davis Rhorer, Executive Director, Downtown Development District
Ann Ruble, FHL Board Member, Public Affairs Manager, Cox Communications
Alison Saunders, Tax Incentives Director, Louisiana Division of Historic
Aimee Schmitt, Community Activist, Founder of Save Huey P. Long Pool
John Schneider, Principal, Cyntreniks LLC Development
Christel Slaughter, FHL Board Member, Partner at SSA Consultants
John Sykes, Education Manager, Louisiana State Museum
Councilwoman Tara Wicker, District 10 Councilmember
Team Project Objectives and Criteria
Each Preservation Leadership Training team will develop a proposal that outlines an
economically viable use for the C.B. & Q. Engine House and the vacant second-floor
levels of the Fairmont Hotel & Oyster Bay and the Lucky Nugget Gambling Hall. The
proposed new use will allow continued use of the properties for a variety of business
purposes, while allowing the building to contribute to the vitality of Deadwood. The
resulting recommendations and proposal should include the following components:
Description of the proposed use, including:
1. Objectives of proposal, detailing the proposed use and how your plan will
2. What are the key elements of your use plan?
3. Who will own the building? Include justification of your recommendation and
address the potential impact of this property retaining ownership or
selling/transferring ownership. If a change is recommended, be specific in
suggesting potential new owners.
Situation Analysis, including:
1. Based on the information provided, identify the stakeholders in this project and
define their roles. What community support for or opposition to this plan do you
expect to encounter? What can be done to build community support and allay
2. Tangible needs and concerns of the community and neighborhood: What role will
this project play in enhancing the surrounding neighborhood?
3. Identify and demonstrate a market for the proposed use: Who are the audiences
for the new use? How will you reach them? How much competition will there be
from similar, existing businesses and uses?
4. What external factors may present obstacles or advantages for the proposed use
of this project?
Condition of the building and recommendations:
1. What can physically be accommodated on the site and what physical changes will
need to be made? Define both minimum and maximum changes to the site. How
will these affect the integrity of the structure?
2. Identify ADA, zoning, environmental and other regulatory compliance issues.
3. How will your plan accommodate vehicular access and parking? How will your
plan manage any increase in traffic that may result within the surrounding
residential and commercial neighborhoods?
Financing and economic vitality:
1. What are the potential sources of financing for this project? Include specific
figures where possible.
2. Explain your financing strategies, such as tax credits, incentives, special funding
3. How will the identified funding and incentives relate to your recommended use?
4. How will the proposed use support the long-term economic viability of the
History of Louisiana
Louisiana claims a truly varied and colorful past. The state has been governed under
10 different flags beginning in 1541 when Hernando de Soto claimed the region for
Spain. La Salle later claimed it for Bourbon France, and over the years Louisiana was
at one time or another subject to the Union Jack of Great Britain, the Tricolor of
Napoleon, the Lone Star flag of the Republic of West Florida, and the Stars and
Stripes of the United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Louisiana became an
independent republic for six weeks before joining the Confederacy.
In 1803 Louisiana became a part of the United States because of the region's
importance to the trade and security of the American Midwest. New Orleans and the
surrounding territory controlled the mouth of the Mississippi River a critical
transportation corridor for the young country. To get this vital region in American
hands, President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with
Napoleon. This purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States. Over the years,
13 states or parts of states would be carved out of the Louisiana Purchase territory.
Through much of its early history, Louisiana was a trading and financial center, and
the fertility of its land made the area one of the richest regions in America, as first
indigo, then sugar and cotton, rose to prominence in world markets. Many Louisiana
planters were among the wealthiest men in America.
The plantation economy was shattered by the Civil War although the state remained
a powerful agricultural region. The discovery of sulfur in 1869 and oil in 1901, coupled
with the rise of forestry, sent the state on a new wave of economic growth.
Eventually, Louisiana became a major American producer of oil and natural gas and a
center of petroleum refining and petrochemicals manufacturing, which it remains to
History of Baton Rouge
The City of Baton Rouge has quite a long history, tracing its earliest European
settlement to colonial-era military forts. The legislature incorporated the town in 1817,
and in 1846, it became the capital of Louisiana. The new center of state government
was a small place (in contrast to New Orleans, where the capital had been located
previously). On the eve of the Civil War, there were only 5,428 inhabitants (4,181
whites and 1,247 slaves). Union forces captured Baton Rouge in 1862. An estimated
one-third of the community was destroyed during the conflict.
Baton Rouge began to rebound (after the war and Reconstruction) in the 1880s. In
1882, the capital was moved back to Baton Rouge. (The seat of government moved
around during the Civil War, and after the war, returned to New Orleans.) The next
year, 1883, saw the arrival of Baton Rouge’s first railroad – the New Orleans and
Mississippi Valley Railroad connecting the town with New Orleans. By 1890, the
population had reached 10,478, a three-fold increase from 1860, but still a relatively
Baton Rouge’s agriculture-based economy was to change forever with the arrival of
Standard Oil of Louisiana in 1909. In that year Esso Standard Oil filed a charter to
build a two million dollar refinery on a 213 acre cotton field north of downtown. Upon
completion, the refinery created 700 new jobs in a town of some 15,000 people. Oil
from Oklahoma and Texas arrived at the refinery via a pipeline and was shipped out
via the Mississippi River. Looking back on Standard Oil on the occasion of its fiftieth
anniversary, one journalist wrote: “The magic of oil became a part of Baton Rouge’s
life in the Spring of 1909. Nothing has been the same since, nor will it ever be again.
Up until that time Baton Rouge was no different from a dozen other river towns,
pleasant and sleepy.”
Over the next decades, Baton Rouge emerged as a petrochemical giant. Standard Oil
continued to expand and numerous other petrochemical industries located in the
city. In addition to being the innermost deep water port on the Mississippi, Baton
Rouge was served by six trunk lines of railroad. By the late 1920s, Standard Oil of
Louisiana was the largest oil refinery in the world. In 1927, more than 6,000,000 tons
of oil products were shipped in and out of the plant, carried by 582 ocean-going
vessels to all of the world’s principal ports. With industrial growth, of course, came
population growth. By 1940, the population was 34,719.
World War II brought unprecedented industrial growth to Baton Rouge. The city’s
many existing petrochemical plants expanded greatly and new ones arrived. By the
end of 1942, Standard Oil’s Baton Rouge plant produced three-fourths of the nation’s
aviation fuel, and its chemical products division made much needed synthetic rubber.
The Aluminum Company of America, which opened a plant north of the city in 1942,
employed 800 people and produced enough aluminum each month to make 2,000
The 1940s were years of transformative growth. As new areas were annexed and new
people moved to the city, Baton Rouge’s population expanded almost four-fold in
one decade, to a population of 125,629 in 1950. The population in 1960 was 152,419.
One in five Baton Rougeans during the ‘40s and ‘50s worked in the petrochemical
Today, Baton Rouge encompasses 79.1 square miles with some 230,000 people. East
Baton Rouge Parish population is approximately 412,500 and its size is 472.1 square
8 This page has been intentionally left blank
This page has been intentionally left blank
Team Project: The Commerce Building
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
Constructed in 1955, the Commerce
Building is an 8-story, downtown
office building providing
approximately 180,000 gross square
feet. The first floor is open and
configured for retail or restaurant
use. Many years back it had been
occupied by McCrory’s Five & Dime.
The remaining seven floors are
configured for office use with open
conference areas in the central
corridor of the building. The building
includes underground parking with
approximately 40 stalls. The building
has been vacant since 2002/2003. It
is now a contributing structure of the
newly approved Downtown Baton
Rouge Historic District.
COMMERCE BUILDING IN BRIEF
Address 333 Laurel Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Owner Bob Dean, Classic Properties
Construction 9 Story- Steel Girder and Purlin Frame, Masonry walls, Concrete
Architects Bodman, Murrell & Smith
Style Early International Style
Square Footage 180,000 square feet
Lot Dimensions 0.62 acre
DOWNTOWN BATON ROUGE
Until supplanted by shopping centers in the 1960s, downtown Baton Rouge was a
mecca for residents of the city and parish as well as surrounding rural areas. In
particular, Third Street was the place to “see and be seen.” Everyone knows “it is the
street of Baton Rouge,” noted one observer in a privately published ode to Third
Street written in 1954. “You have never been to Baton Rouge,” he concluded, “if you
have not been on ole Third.” During the weekdays the street was abuzz with the
many professional people who had offices there and housewives doing some
shopping and perhaps meeting a friend for lunch. And these were the days when a
day-long Saturday in downtown Baton Rouge was a much treasured, much
anticipated family event.
City directories and reminiscences paint a vivid picture of the dazzling variety of
merchandise once sold in extant buildings within the district boundaries. Three
buildings remain to represent the major retail stores: (1) Welsh and Levy, the place
for men and boys clothing, opened in 447 Third Street in 1915 and remained there
until the late 1960s. (2) Kress 5 & 10 offered a huge variety of merchandise, from
painted turtles for children, to cosmetics, to books, to fabric. (3) Dalton’s Department
Store, located in the lower floors of 263-265 Third Street, is remembered not only for
its merchandise but for the Green Room, a popular café. Sadly, the buildings that
housed Sears and Penneys are gone, as is one other major department store building,
Rosenfeld’s, located across from Welsh and Levy. Specialized retail stores
represented in extant buildings include Latil’s Stationery (still operating in 324 Third
Street), Fuqua Hardware, and a number of women’s clothing stores and shoe stores.
A sporting goods store and a novelty store were housed in extant buildings on North
In terms of eateries, the building housing the Green Room survives, as does the Kress
Building, with its once popular lunch counter. Other eateries/bars were at 311 and 315
North Boulevard, and 240 Laurel was the home for years of the Crescent Cocktail
Cove and Restaurant.
The district’s five high-rise buildings were the places to go for any number of
professional services. Offices on the upper floors housed a large number of
physicians, dentists, lawyers, and insurance agents. Other professions represented in
smaller numbers include contractors, realtors, dressmakers, beauticians, architects,
accountants and photographers. The oil industry was represented in the Louisiana
National Bank Building. Shell Oil had offices there as well as legendary Baton Rouge
oil producer Claude B. Pennington, Sr. Finally, banking services were available
through three institutions: Union Bank and Trust/City National Bank (124 Third
Street); Louisiana National Bank (in two different buildings, 236 Third Street and 150
Third Street); and Fidelity National Bank (440 Third Street), which replaced an early
banking house with the present building in 1956. Services provided in the row of
buildings along North Boulevard included shoe repair, a newsstand, a barber, a
school of dance and a laundry.
Downtown Baton Rouge (especially Third Street) continued to be the commercial
center of the city until roughly the early 1960s. Strip shopping centers arrived in the
city in the mid-1950s, most notably with Delmont Village several miles north of
downtown and the smaller Westmoreland Shopping Center about three miles to the
east. Despite the appeal of these novelty shopping experiences, downtown
continued to hold its own. The beginning of the end came in 1960, when Bon Marche
Mall opened some distance to the east of downtown. Initially Bon Marche was an
open air shopping experience, not the enclosed mall it became several years later.
Downtown Baton Rouge responded in a manner typical of cities across America.
Third Street was rebranded as Riverside Mall. Nonetheless, downtown Baton Rouge
was virtually abandoned by the 1970s. Today, thanks to an aggressive revitalization
program spearheaded by the Downtown Development District, downtown is once
DOWNTOWN BATON ROUGE HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Downtown Baton Rouge Historic District is the principal portion of what was
historically the downtown business district. The boundaries of the historic district
encompass 43 commercial buildings, most of which are on Third Street. All but three
of the buildings are party wall. Block faces have mainly a two to three story scale
punctuated by a “tall building” here and there. Contributing buildings range in date
from circa 1860 through the mid-1950s. Within this roughly 100 year date range, only
four buildings date from before 1900. A little over fifty percent of the contributing
buildings date from the 1910s and 1920s. There are eleven non-contributing buildings
(26%), almost all of which are significantly altered historic buildings. Even with non-
contributing buildings, three parking lots where historic buildings once stood, and
alterations to contributing buildings, the district still retains a strong sense of time
As in any old downtown, there are various buildings in downtown Baton Rouge that
might be termed what some call “commercial vernacular.” These workhorses of
commerce may be well-detailed but they do not fit into standard stylistic categories.
That said, there are probably just as many buildings in the district that are strongly
and intensively styled, and they are generally the largest. Styles include Italianate,
Italian Renaissance, Classical Revival (the largest category), Art Deco, and several
interpretations of the “modern” or “contemporary” look of the 1940s and ‘50s.
THE COMMERCE BUILDING
Designed by the Baton Rouge firm
Bodman, Murrell & Smith, the Commerce
Building is an eight story brick corner
commercial building strongly in the
tradition of the early International Style
(pre-glass tower phase). Built on the site of
an existing antebellum structure, the
Commerce Building was part of an effort to
modernize downtown Baton Rouge. It was
one of the last major downtown building
projects of the 1950’s. Like many early
international style buildings, its mass
appears to float above a recessed first story
system of shop fronts. On the Third St.
elevation, the first and second stories
extend north of the main building mass to
form a party-wall link with the adjacent
building. The plain flat brick elevations are
cut with extensive bands of International Style signature ribbon windows. The old
main entrance on Laurel St. features a jutting polished granite surround surmounted
by the words The Commerce Building in stylized brushed aluminum lettering. The
only alteration has been the present dark gray paint scheme, which is not in keeping
with the International Style’s iconic off-white color preference.
CURRENT HISTORY OF THE COMMERCE BUILDING
The retail space on the first floor has changed occupants over the years; at one time
it housed a McCrory’s Five & Dime and a Three Sisters clothing store. At a later time
the owner, Mr. Bob Dean, filled the first floor with a selection of antique cars from his
collection. It served as a museum to this incredible assortment of valuable vehicles.
The building was leased by the State of Louisiana for a number of years as office
space. Under the regime of Governor Mike Foster in the late 1990s, the State
undertook the goal of bringing all departments to the Capital Complex (this is the
area that surrounds and is adjacent to the Louisiana State Capitol). The newly built
government office space meant the end of government leased space in buildings in
the Third Street area. The Commerce Building has been vacant and up for auction for
the last 7-8 years.
FACTORS FOR REHABILITATION
A range of factors are relevant in developing adaptive use strategies, from support
within the neighborhood to conditions such as nearby development and planning
initiatives that provide vehicles and support services for the project.
1. Demographics: Population: 428,360 in 2008, projected 433,700 in 2010.
As of 2008: 48.2 % male; 51.8% female; 51.8% Caucasian; 44.5%
African-American; 6.6% Other
Median household income as of 2008: $46,563
Median Age 32 years
2. Occupancy: Vacant
3. Zoning: C-5 Business Zoning District. This district allows office and commercial
uses within the Downtown Development District without setback and parking
requirements. There may be any uses in the preceding sections including
restaurants, which involve the sale or serving of alcoholic beverages for
consumption on premises. Conditional Uses - Surface Parking
4. Designation: Contributing structure to the Downtown Baton Rouge Historic
5. State and Local Incentive Programs: HUD Financing for low-income/mixed-use
housing, New Markets Tax Credits, Certified Local Government Grants,
Modernization Tax Credits, Restoration Tax Abatement, Brownfields Program,
Rental Housing Rehabilitation Loans, Gap Financing, Land Banking, Rental Rehab,
Small Business Facade Grant, Industrial Development Bonds, and Pool Programs
6. Tax Credits: A certified rehabilitation of the Commerce Building may be eligible
for both state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. To qualify for the 20%
federal credit, the building must be designated within a National Register Historic
District and be used for income- producing purposes. Because Baton Rouge falls
under Go Zone legislation (extended to areas devastated by disasters such as
Hurricane Katrina), it was eligible for an additional 6% federal tax credit. The Go
Zone incentive technically ended 12/31/2009; however, legislation is currently
being pursued to extend the Go Zone credit. The Senate passed HR 4213 on
March 10th but must go back through House (to reconcile changes) and is
expected to complete in spring 2010. In Louisiana, state commercial tax credit
returns up to 25% of eligible costs. The building must be a contributing building
to a Downtown Development District (DDD) or a Cultural District and must be
used for income-producing purposes.
16 This page has been intentionally left blank
18 This page has been intentionally left blank
Eric Emerson, South Carolina Department of Archives & History, Columbia, SC
Carmen Godwin, Riverside Avondale Preservation, Jacksonville, FL
Michelle Meche, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, Baton Rouge, LA
Rhea Roberts, Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
Lisa Rupple, Claremont Heritage, Claremont, CA
Leon Steele, Louisiana Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA
I. OVERVIEW & PROPOSED USE
This project proposes the redevelopment and use of the Commerce Building (1955,
Bodman, Murrell & Smith) located at 333 Laurel Street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The
building was listed as a contributing structure of the National Register of Historic
Places newly-approved Downtown Baton Rouge Historic District. The redevelopment
of the eight-story Commerce Building will conform with its multi-use past through
the restoration and reuse of the building’s first floor for commercial space, and the
adaptive reuse of the building’s second-
eighth floors, formerly configured for
commercial and office space. The
successful redevelopment of the Commerce
Building will result in the creation of 113 one
and two bedroom apartments to
accommodate employees who work
downtown and wish to reside there. The
project also will create fifty-seven parking
spaces in the building’s basement for the
use of residents. The parameters of the
project include consideration and retention
of the building’s vital historic character and
integrity, as well as physical constraints,
economic viability, and community and
II. SITUATION ANALYSIS
One of the unique opportunities provided by the rehabilitation of the Commerce
Building involves a collaborative effort by a number of vital stakeholders who will
work to ensure that the building’s rehabilitation is successful. The building’s primary
stakeholders include owner Bob Dean Classic Properties, landowner Hart Family LLC,
the City of Baton Rouge, Downtown Development District, the Redevelopment
Authority, and the various other interested organizations. Each of these stakeholders
will play a vital role in the rehabilitation of the Commerce Building and should each
benefit from the successful completion of the project.
Stakeholders should expect support for the rehabilitation of the Commerce Building
due to the extensive revitalization efforts and investments being made to create a
downtown Baton Rouge that is vibrant and sustainable. There is widespread
community support for the project but there are also concerns regarding
negotiations related to the creation or execution of a new lease with current building
Downtown Baton Rouge has an
increasingly important role as a
regional economic and cultural
center; a series of recently completed
projects have fueled growth by
generating excitement and activity
and bringing more people downtown.
The Shaw Center, cultural and gaming
attractions and a growing population
of government workers serve as a
base for private developments,
including the OneEleven and Kress
projects. There is also a new 300 block of Third Street at Laurel Street in
designated Entertainment District
courthouse close to completion, and
plans for an amphitheater within
Capitol Park, a new government office building, the convention center expansion,
and the development of Plan Baton Rouge II. Workers, residents, and visitors are all
vital to the revitalization of downtown, supporting a variety of businesses and
creating round-the-clock activity. Baton Rouge’s role as the center of Parish and
State government creates a regular influx of daytime office workers. There is also a
notable residential presence concentrated in two historic neighborhoods. Major
cultural attractions, casinos and hotels serve as anchors for downtown by attracting
visitors and supporting an emerging entertainment district. Together these three
groups, workers, residents, and tourists, provide the basis of demand for a vibrant
Downtown Baton Rouge is first and foremost a government center, with over 10,000
public employees that create demand for additional products and services.
Approximately 2,000 people also live downtown. While the Baton Rouge MSA has
recently benefited from an influx of people displaced by Hurricane-Katrina, the
downtown population has remained fairly steady, due in part to a lack of housing.
The tourism and convention businesses in Baton Rouge, however, have experienced
a boom in recent years.
A demographic analysis of the downtown population compared to the City of Baton
Rouge and Louisiana State reveals several key differences. While the downtown
population has been declining, the population in the MSA has been increasing, with
40,000 new residents projected to settle permanently by 2016 (after a predicted
outflux of 15,000 hurricane-displaced people returning to their homes (3) The
population in the MSA is younger, more likely to have an advanced degree and has a
significantly higher household income than the population in the downtown. In order
to maximize the success of specialty retail and cultural and entertainment
destinations downtown, the greater Baton Rouge population must be encouraged to
visit the downtown regularly. The downtown residents constitute an active
workforce, with both lower unemployment and a higher percentage of its population
in labor force than the city overall. Downtown residents also have a shorter commute
and are more likely to walk; 11% of people walk to work downtown, compared to 3%
and 1% in the city and state.
A critical mass of residents is needed to create demand for retail and energize the
downtown. However, residential development is very challenging under current
market conditions. Currently the downtown is
dominated by surface parking lots which
generate significant cash flows for the land
owners and represent little if any financial risk (1).
Accordingly, residential development has been
constrained, resulting in a lack of housing
downtown. There are significant market and
logistical factors limiting the potential
development sites, therefore supporting infill
development and strengthening connections
with developments in the greater downtown will
be essential to supporting an active downtown.
In conversations with Baton Rouge stakeholders,
people indicated the need for small niche retail to
support the office workers, such as a drycleaners,
drug store, small grocery store, and a clothing
store with professional attire. It also has been
Luxurious marble slab walls in suggested that childcare for downtown workers
tower entry lobby and support staff would be an excellent amenity
that could attract new business downtown.
III. CONDITION OF THE BUILDING AND RECOMMENDATION
The Commerce Building is a typical Mid-Century Modern Style commercial building
originally used for retail and office space, consisting of a basement and eight floors.
This team recommends adaptively reusing the structure for basement parking,
ground floor retail, and upper floor one and two bedroom moderately-priced
The Commerce Building’s greatest assets are its downtown location and relationship
to the Mississippi River, its size and potential for accommodating change while
retaining its important character, and its Mid-Century Modern construction. Using the
sleek, clean design aesthetic of its International Style influence, the Commerce
Building has the potential to be a truly unique and attractive place to live. It is
recommended that these mod features and ethic of minimal ornamentation be kept
as a design philosophy for the apartments. It could be one of Baton Rouge’s great
modern showpieces and attract a demographic of individuals interested or
appreciative of the mid-century modern.
The building would house parking in the basement level, have a pharmacy and
possibly a music venue in the first floor commercial space, and the remaining floors
would be converted to one and two bedroom apartments. Plan Baton Rouge Phase
II, the 2009 master plan update for the city, calls for active revitalization of the 3rd
Street corridor as the entertainment heart of the city. The Commerce Building is
specifically called out in this plan, focusing on it serving as an anchor for this portion
of 3rd Street.
The greatest physical changes to the building involve transforming the second
through eighth floors from office space to residential apartments. The current
configuration of these floors is not conducive for multiple one and two bedroom
apartments. The interior divisions and non-load bearing walls and supports will need
to be altered or removed as necessary. The Commerce Building is a contributing
building to the Downtown Baton Rouge Historic District. Its primary contribution to
the district is from its location on a key corner in the downtown, its size, and its
exterior mid-century features. Greater latitude can be applied to altering the interior
room spaces without affecting the ability of the building to convey as a 1950s high
rise commercial building. The color of the building is recommended to be changed to
an off-white color. This will return the ribbon windows as a key feature. Returning a
light color to the brick, contrasting in texture and color with the long bands of ribbon
windows historically gave the building a light but strong presence. This can be easily
re-established and will allow the property to have an immediate and strong visual
impact within the streetscape, but also as an anchor to a redeveloping corridor.
The basement level offers 26,983
sq/ft of former department store
space. This space is not an open span,
but is punctuated by multiple steel
encased in concrete support columns
integral to the structure of the
building. This level can accommodate
conversion into a subterranean,
secured parking garage of
approximately 57 spaces. Changes to
the structure would be minimal, but
must include construction of an auto
ramp from Laurel Street to be
Existing ground level parking punched through the first floor to gain
access to the basement. The ground
floor is currently divided into two uses, the majority of its space currently configured
as interior parking and the support columns found in the basement level are repeated
here. The current second floor use is storage. The first floor space will serve as the
location of the primary cornerstone business, with a total 26, 983 sq/ft footprint, the
space can support one large business or multiple mid-size to small businesses. The
flexibility of the space for being enclosed in multiple configurations supports several
needs of the downtown area and allow for change in needs over time.
Zoning and Building Codes
The Unified Development Code (UDC) provides the regulatory framework that will
impact the project at the City level. Other regulatory programs that will require
compliance include: the International Building Code; International Mechanical Code;
National Electric Code; Louisiana State Plumbing Code; and the National Fire
Protection Association’s Life Safety Code. Many of these state and national codes are
included as provisions within the local code. Other laws and permits include the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Environmental Protection Act (EPA),
Environmental Regulatory Code (ERC) (LAC Title 33 Part III), and the State of
Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).
Because the building will be changed in use, all systems must be brought up to
current code. The building is currently zoned as C-5-Business District. This zoning
allows for all proposed uses in the building and will provide for a vibrant mixed use
redevelopment of the property. The zoning for the C-5 Business District does not
require that any parking be provided for the building. Listing of the building in the
Baton Rouge Downtown Historic District means that specific requirements regarding
project approval will involve the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish
Historic Preservation Commission. Location of the building in the Urban Design
Overlay District Seven: the Arts and Entertainment District provides a distinct and
fresh urban venue to showcase music and the arts in a key downtown location. The
overlay district guidelines stipulate that in order to be eligible for any potential
financial incentive programs offered specifically for the Arts and Entertainment
District, the project must meet the Architectural Elements of the overlay district
guidelines. Projects will be reviewed by the Downtown Design Committee and
renovation projects that comprise more than 40% of the total square footage must
conform to the regulations set in the UDC. Any signage created for the new
businesses must conform to the sign guidelines set for the district. New restaurants
are encouraged to incorporate useable private open space and outdoor dining areas.
Human scale public art is encouraged and called out in the Downtown Visitor’s
Amenity Plan as well as listed in the overlay district guidelines.
Inclusion of a garage space in the basement level requires that the proposed garage
be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It appears that asbestos is
present throughout the building; remediation of the hazardous material must
conform to EPA and ERC laws and be conducted by an Asbestos Abatement Entity
(AAE). The Life Safety Code has a historic building renovation initiative that is meant
to encourage preservation. When applying the requirements of the adopted fire, life,
safety, or handicapped requirements the state fire marshal can take into account the
integrity of the building and impact of altering those features.
Pedestrian Access, Security, Parking
Pedestrian access, parking and security concerns are not a hindrance for the
proposed use of the Commerce Building. Pedestrians have access to the proposed
retail entrance on Third Street in downtown Baton Rouge’s main entertainment
district. Sidewalks have recently been widened and are well maintained by the city
of Baton Rouge. The Laurel Street entrance to the elevator lobby is clearly separate
from the Third Street entrance and could be secured exclusively for residents.
Current zoning does not require parking for any use of the Commerce Building, but
secured parking for the residential and retail spaces will make the project more
attractive to potential residents and investors. There are multiple feasible options to
achieve this. In addition to the recommended basement use for parking,
arrangements can be made with nearby parking decks or surface lots. The current
owner of the Commerce Building owns land nearby and has expressed interest in
building a new parking deck. There are grant and assistance programs for this if
public parking spaces are included in the facility. If basement parking is provided for
early residents of the building, a parking deck could be included in later phases of
development of this project and provide more parking for customers of the ground
floor businesses. The density of the proposed garage requires two accessible
parking spaces to be in compliance and the subterranean space can easily
accommodate this adjacent to the elevator bays.
Summary of Recommendations
Basement: Currently used for storage, is Parking: the basement will accommodate 50+
accessible by both stairways and one parking spaces that can be easily secured.
elevator. The basement was previously Recommendations are to use the Laurel Street
used as retail space and had escalators garage door entrance for access and build a
at one time. ramp to the basement. A gate may be
incorporated at street or basement level.
First Floor: Currently subdivided for Retail: Recommendations are to utilize the
retail space, parking, and elevator lobby majority of the ground floor for retail,
removing the current parking space. The
space could accommodate one large retailer
or multiple smaller stores. The elevator lobby
is currently separate and secure for residential
Floors 2-8: Currently configured for Residential: one and two bedroom apartment
office space units, the second floor and center of upper
floors may be used for workout rooms,
Laundromats, meeting spaces, and storage
Rooftops: The roof of the second and Replace building systems with consideration
eighth floors are not easily accessible for possibilities in later phases of site
but are capable of supporting outdoor development, particularly the rooftops.
Building systems: All major building Replace building systems with consideration
systems need to be replaced for possibilities in later phases of site
development, particularly the rooftops.
Exterior: The storefront facing Third Remove unnecessary garage doors and
Street is in fair condition, a garage door rehabilitate storefronts for modern retail uses.
has been added to the Third Street Paint brick white or ivory, similar to the
façade. The exterior brick has been original color. Windows must be assessed for
painted black. asbestos in glazing and repaired if possible, or
replaced in kind with like materials and design.
IV. FINANCING AND ECONOMIC VITALITY
Rehabilitation of the Commerce Building will be made possible by leveraging a
number of funding sources and through a cooperative relationship between the
building owner, Bob Dean Classic Properties, and the landowners, Hart Family LLC,
which will be financially beneficial to both parties. The owner, Bob Dean Classic
Properties would receive the advantage of the various tax credits and incentives, but
the successful building rehabilitation will necessitate the renegotiation of the land
lease, which has remained little changed for the past fifty years.
The long-term economic viability of the Commerce Building is dependent on the
creation of a strong business model that will take full advantage of the emerging
social, economic, and demographic trends that make downtown Baton Rouge a
viable market for housing. The model of new urbanism that finds younger and older
residents returning to vibrant inner cities provides this project with an enhanced
chance of success. Such success, however, is contingent upon the following:
1. The creation of a solid business plan based on credible data.
2. A mutually beneficial business relationship between the land owners and the
3. Completion of a historically sensitive rehabilitation of the Commerce Building
that conforms to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of
4. The building owner’s use of every available tax credit and funding source. The
use of Federal and State Tax Credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings
will dictate to a great extent the nature of the exterior rehabilitation to comply
with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards (see above).
5. Addressing ongoing financial obligations, debt service, and operating capital
needs through rental income from the building’s commercial and residential
Cost Analysis for the rehabilitation of the Commerce Building (projections are
broadly based upon data gathered during interviews with various stakeholders):
• Current building value-Purchased for $600,000; the building received a high
bid of $750,000 during a recent auction. There also is an in rim mortgage
attached to the building.
• Current land value-$1,349,150 (based upon a calculation of $50 per square
foot x 26,983 square feet).
• Land lease$4,033.33 per month paid to Hart Realty LLC, which has remained
unchanged since 1955.
• Estimated Rehabilitation Costs-$17 million from the basement to the eighth
floor or roughly $132.75 per square foot (128,060 square feet)
• Federal Historic Tax Credits, 20% of qualifying rehabilitation costs over a five-
year period: $3,400,000
• Louisiana Commercial Tax Credit, 25% of qualifying rehabilitation costs over a
five-year period, up to $5 million per owner: $4,250,000
Potential Additional Incentives:
• Five-Year Property Tax Abatement on improvements to structures-The
economic development freezes property taxes at pre-improvement level for
up to five years, and the property owner can apply for an extension.
• TIF-tax increment financing-any sales tax go towards paying for the
infrastructure for a downtown area.
• Enterprise Zone-Incentive for commercial tenant on first floor, up to 4% rebate
on sales tax on any investment for equipment.
• Business Energy Investment Tax Credit-up to 30% of expenditures with no
limit on cost. This credit would be beneficial to the developer for the
necessary replacement of the heating and cooling systems.
• Louisiana Brownfields Investor Tax Credit-covers up to 15% of the
investigation costs and 50% of remediation costs over a period up to 15 years.
This would be beneficial to the developer for the necessary asbestos
• Development Impact Fee Waiver-traffic and sewer impact fees are waived for
eligible downtown development projects (est. $150,000).
• New Market Tax Credits
Total Available Rehabilitation Incentives (not including Potential Additional
Incentives): $7,650,000 or 45% of the estimated rehabilitation costs
• Residential rental revenue (105,210 square feet resident rental space on floors
2-8 @ $1.50 per square foot per month)-$1,893,780 per year
• Commercial space revenue-23,091 square feet on the first floor @ $20 per
square foot annually-$461,820
Total annual lease revenue: $2,355,600.
When combined with available rehabilitation incentives, annual residential and
commercial revenue would make the successful rehabilitation of the Commerce
Building financially beneficial to the building owner, and potentially to the land
owners, With the continuation of a financially beneficial relationship between the
building and land owners, the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Commerce
Building will be a vital step in the revitalization of downtown Baton Rouge and will
help usher in a period of rebirth for the city’s urban core.
Streetlevel along Third Street (toward Laurel) Streetlevel along Third Street with garage entrance
Third Street retail show windows arcade Office tower corridor
28 This page has been intentionally left blank
30 This page has been intentionally left blank
Sarah Cooleen, Preservation Virginia, Richmond, VA
James Flavell, Independent, San Francisco, CA
Drew Hart, Heart Realty Co., LTD., Baton Rouge, LA
Nicole Hobson-Morris, Baton Rouge Department of Culture, Recreation and
Tourism, Baton Rouge, LA
Sam Newton, Downtown Dothan Redevelopment Authority, Dothan, AL
Jeff Wagner, RAFI Planning Architecture Urban Design, Henderson, NV
Our team was tasked with evaluating the preservation and redevelopment of the
Commerce Building (1955) located at 333 Laurel Street, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
This structure is a contributing building to the Downtown Baton Rouge Historic
District, which has recently been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Upon initial review it was evident that this is not a typical preservation project. While
the structure is a clear example of the vernacular interpretation of the International
Style, the strongest potential for the building rests in its ability to accommodate the
immediate housing needs of the more than 20,000 downtown workers. At a
potential cost of twenty-eight million dollars, the current economic climate has
created a situation where conventional financing alone is not a feasible option for the
adaptive reuse of this building. However, an opportunity exists to take advantage of
a number of local, state, and federal funding sources to complete this project.
The Commerce Building has the opportunity to act as an anchor for the revitalization
of the Third Street corridor. In order to have the maximum impact the Commerce
Building must offer diverse housing to accommodate a range of residents, from the
service worker to the emerging professional, and empty nester. In addition, an influx
of residents will create a foundation for services such as a grocery store and
pharmacy. These types of services will be housed at ground level. Finally, to activate
the building during the day, while residents are at work, the second floor of the
building should be set aside for community and education services such as a daycare
We believe that the adaptive reuse of the Commerce Building as a mixed use
development will create the catalyst needed to expedite the revitalization of both
the Third Street corridor and the greater downtown area.
Designed by the leading Baton Rouge architectural firm of Bodman, Murrell & Smith,
the Commerce Building, built in 1955, is the leading exemplar of Early International
Style design and construction within downtown Baton Rouge. Specifically, the
Commerce Building contains a recessed ground floor and retail venues, and
extensive ribbons of horizontal International Style windows. An elegant, modern
building sign, an extant in-floor insert advertising a former retail tenant, and a sleek
lobby with period detail and fixtures complement the building’s structural design.
While the building’s exterior has been painted black, out of keeping with leading
International Style buildings, it is believed this painting covered a prior coat of white
or cream paint added sometime subsequent to the original construction, in which the
exterior brick was left unpainted.
Overall, these features place the Commerce Building in the broad category of
“commercial vernacular” architecture. As Paul Goldberger, a leading architectural
critic, has written: “not everything modern is a classic. The challenge will be in
figuring out where among ordinary, vernacular buildings – the buildings of the
everyday modernist landscape – we should draw the line.” Preservation, May/June
There is no doubt that many of the features of the Commerce Building strongly
evoke a prior time in Baton Rouge’s history, and represent a distinct phase of the
later period of Third Street’s renaissance as Baton Rouge’s commercial and
Overwhelmingly the feedback has been positive for the adaptive reuse of the
Commerce Building from multiple perspectives. From the traditional preservation
viewpoint the rehabilitation of the Commerce Building is saving a contributing
structure in the Downtown Baton Historic District. Economically it is a positive
resolution for a vacant and deteriorating building in downtown Baton Rouge. The
building can become a neighborhood resource by housing much needed services
such as a grocery store and/or drug store on the ground floor, affordable residential
units in the former office space, and commercial space for a charter school or day
care center. In addition, the adaptive reuse of the Commerce Building can build
community support by connecting the dots between preservation and sustainability.
“Recycling” the Commerce Building is more sustainable then demolishing it and
constructing a new building.
With an estimated 20,705 1 jobs located in the downtown Baton Rouge area there is a
need for attainable housing 2 for this workforce. Once a stable residential population
can be achieved basic services such as grocery, pharmacy, and niche retail will be
needed. Additional services such as daycare and job training will improve the appeal
of the downtown area to potential residents.
The need for residential units in the downtown area is immediate. The target
audience will be a diverse cross section of the downtown workforce. The median
household income in Baton Rouge is $46,563. Approximately 49% of the downtown
workforce is employed in the public administration realm. The most recently
developed housing units in the area have largely been targeted to the professional
services workforce, which represents only 8% of the downtown workforce. In
addition, to encourage diversity and mitigate gentrification, there is a need for
affordable housing for the current downtown residents who have a median income of
approximately $27,000. This represents an opportunity to develop a broad range of
See downtown development district market analysis.
For the purposes of this report attainable housing is defined as housing priced at three times the median income.
residential units ranging from studio to two-bedroom apartments. An influx of
residents will in turn create an increased demand for the retail uses planned for the
ground floor of the building, and community and education services on the second
floor. It is necessary to develop these mutually reliant uses simultaneously.
The proposed use of this project aligns with the vision of downtown Baton Rouge as
outlined in the master plan for the area “Plan Baton Rouge Phase II”. According to
Downtown Baton Rouge has an increasingly important role as a regional economic
and cultural center; a series of recently completed projects have fueled growth by
generating excitement and activity and bring more people downtown…Workers,
residents and visitors are all vital to the revitalization of downtown, supporting a
variety of businesses and creating round-the-clock activity. (68)
A number of stakeholders have been identified. This project represents a win-win-win
situation for all involved. The current owner, Bob Dean, will benefit from the
appreciation of this asset as the revitalization of the district gains momentum. If Mr.
Dean decides to retain the building and act as the developer for this project he
stands to benefit from the income potential. While this project may look like an
unappealing short-term investment due to the upfront capital outlay and unfavorable
financing environment, we believe it represent a low risk/high yield long-term
investment in the community. Hart Realty, current owner of the land, which is
managed by long time Baton Rouge residents, desires to extend the land lease,
ensuring continued positive cash flow for many years. However, the adjacent
neighborhood, downtown business owners, and citizens of Baton Rouge have the
most to gain. The transformation of the Third Street corridor will be a vibrant
neighborhood that attracts social and economic diversity.
Stakeholder Position/Role Goal
Bob Dean Building owner To develop or sell the Commerce
Hart Realty Land owner To keep ownership of land in
perpetuity; willing to renegotiate the
current 40 year land lease to a 99
year land lease with an option to
renew for an additional 99 years
Downtown Revitalization engine for To increase retail sales taxes,
Development District creating a stronger services, property values, and
community in downtown occupied residential and
Baton Rouge commercial spaces
Surrounding/Adjacent Spanish Town, To benefit from the new services in
Neighborhood Beauregard Town, Third the Commerce Building and to
Street Corridor increase property values
Foundation for Local preservation To promote the preservation and
Historical Louisiana group adaptive reuse of the historic
(FHL) buildings in Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge Area Potential backer or To create a more cohesive
Foundation (BRAF) developer community through strategic
funding in Baton Rouge
Preservation and redevelopment of the Commerce Building present a number of the
most salient issues in historic preservation theory and practice today. First, it
represents the desire – indeed the increasing urgency – to include in the nation’s
preservation efforts the architecture and urban design of the (comparatively) recent
past. Second, it raises the challenges of determining preservation strategies
involving commercial and vernacular structures within a broader urban
redevelopment context. Finally, such redevelopment offers the important
opportunity to implement smart growth and sustainable development strategies that
are based, in part, on historic urban patterns of daily life, commerce, and
As a contributing building to the Downtown Baton Rouge Historic District,
assessment of the integrity of the Commerce Building for preservation purposes
rests on the twin pillars of the structure’s (1) intrinsic architectural design and
features, whether original or amended; and (2) contribution to the overall historic
role, and potential revitalized future, of the Historic District. It is recommended that
these twin pillars be evaluated separately, as decisions concerning preservation of
the structure’s intrinsic architectural elements can be evaluated prior to finalization
of any redevelopment plans, and indeed clarification of these elements will assist the
process of developing building and neighborhood redevelopment plans.
While eligible for a variety of historic preservation, and other tax credits and
incentives based on the Commerce Building’s contribution to the Downtown Historic
District, the exact role of these key historic design elements is one impediment to
redevelopment efforts. It is the recommendation of this proposal that a full
examination of these historic design elements be conducted to assist in broader
redevelopment planning for the site. With greater information and consensus about
the role of the historic design elements – and feasible preservation and renovation
possibilities and costs – broader redevelopment discussions among the various
stakeholders can proceed more efficiently.
This initial stage of planning should include, among other issues (1) the history of the
painting of the building exterior; (2) replacement possibilities and costs for the
ribbon windows; (3) costs to preserve and utilize the historic lobby and related
features; and (4) concepts for the preservation or adaptive reuse of the structure’s
historic signage. There are several possibilities for funding for this initial stage of
planning. One possibility is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation
Fund, which offers matching grants on a competitive basis of up to $5,000 to assist
preservation planning and education efforts. Matching funds for any awarded grant
might be provided by the current owner of the Commerce Building, discretionary or
donor-advised funds of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Baton Rouge
Redevelopment Agency, or other sources.
With issues of design preservation clarified and addressed, stakeholders in the
Commerce Building and the Third Street corridor can more fully evaluate
The building is currently in a state of disrepair. Many of the systems have exceeded
their useable life and will need to be replaced. The building shell, structural system,
and fire suppression will remain intact, and are suitable for the proposed use.
However, to accommodate secure parking, a ramp and overhead coiling door will
need to be provided for basement level access. In addition, due to the age of the
mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as the need to renovate the
vast majority of the internal spaces, these systems will be removed and replaced. The
current site can accommodate the proposed use with minimal upgrades and little to
no offsite improvements.
Some of the Commerce Building’s distinctive features can be preserved at nominal
cost, and with little planning, such as the Laurel Street signage and lobby. Other
features, such as the ribbon windows, appear to be beyond restoration due to
asbestos contamination, and would require either expensive reconstruction to match
the original window design while meeting current requirements, or adaptive use of
replacements capturing a similar design element. The three-dimensional virtues
could be readily repaired - indeed they were used until recently for a variety of
displays - but contemporary replacements would likely present a variety of features
equally or more attractive to future users.
As is the case with many building renovations, a number of accessibility issues must
be addressed during the renovation process. While the existing elevator shafts can
be used, the vertical circulation systems will need to be upgraded. Handrails
throughout the structure will need to be modified to comply with current ANSI A117.1
standards. Based on the proposed use, an egress analysis will be required to
determine whether areas of refuge will need to be incorporated into the existing
egress stair shafts. Accessible signage, including Braille and tactile characters, will
also be required throughout the building.
While a number of physical issues must be addressed, the overall physical condition
of the building is well suited for the proposed adaptive reuse. The preservation of the
structure and building façade represent the diversion of a substantial amount of
construction waste, as well as a saving of embodied energy that would be lost if the
structure was demolished in favor of building a new building. It is likely that the
project could be completed within 24 months of conception.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED USE
In order to create a catalyst for neighborhood diversity, the Commerce Building will
be a mixed used structure aimed at 24-hour utilization. With nearly 180,000 sqft of
available space, the structure will accommodate approximately 35,000 sqft of retail
space at the ground level and basement area, 45 secure parking spaces, 27,000 sqft
of community/educational space, and approximately 120 residential units of various
Ground level retail spaces that offer basic services such as, a grocery store and
pharmacy, are essential to creating vibrant, walkable communities. The space at the
Commerce Building is adequate to accommodate a small grocery store with a deli,
and a pharmacy in the corner. The back-of-house functions of the grocery store
would be located in the basement. The remainder of the first floor would be allocated
to retail, such as a clothing store. The ratio of perimeter windows to the area of the
second floor slab makes the development of residential units at this level difficult.
However, the space is well suited to office space. While there is an abundance of
office space available in the area, there is a need for community and educational
services in the area that could utilize this space. Some combination of daycare and
job training services would likely be valuable to those residents who choose to
relocate downtown, as well as the downtown workforce. These services will occupy
approximately 27,000 sqft, and a small portion of the second floor roof could be
converted to an urban playground for the daycare center.
Floors 3-8 are ideal for residential development. The overall width of the floor plates,
along with the existing vertical circulation and egress, will allow for an efficient
double loaded corridor. Ribbon windows provide ample natural light and potential
natural ventilation for a variety of unit configurations. This project will have 24
affordable units, 84 attainable units, and 12 units targeted at the upwardly mobile
tenant. In order to maximize the project’s financial viability, the units will be leased
for the first five years and subsequently sold as condos.
FINANCING AND ECONOMIC VITALITY
The Project represents a major undertaking for any developer. With an approximate
total cost of twenty-eight million dollars ($28,000,000) this project is not
economically viable without utilizing a number of preservation and economic
incentive programs. The current owner of the building has expressed an interest in
either selling the building to another developer, or undertaking the rehabilitation
himself, using a strategy similar to that outlined above. Since the Commerce Building
is a contributing structure in the Downtown Baton Rouge Historic District, which is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places, State Commercial Historic Tax
Credits of 20% and Federal Historic Tax Credits of 25% can be used. The combined
tax credits of 45% toward eligible rehabilitation costs will help defray the cost of the
rehabilitation, and help make the project feasible, while still requiring the developer
to follow the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties
which safeguards original character defining features, and preventing loss of historic
fabric. In tight economic times, when securing construction financing is especially
difficult, having the State and Federal Historic Tax Credits available will be invaluable.
Other financial incentives available to fund the rehabilitation of the building include
New Market Tax Credits and a HUD 221 (4d) loan.
Potential Sources for financing this project include the following:
Federal State Local Private Name Amount Offered or
X Historic Tax Credits 20% Credit
X Commercial Tax Credits 25% Credit
X Low Income Housing Tax To be Determined
X Enterprise Zone Tax Credits $2,500/new
X Tax Abatement Program Property tax frozen at
X Pew Charitable Trusts Supports non-profit
activities in the area
of education, etc.
X Bank of America Foundation Supports early
Currently there are rental units and condos in the downtown district. However these
units appeal to a more upwardly mobile class of people. Some of the prices and
square footage include the following: lofts at 1000 sqft ($1450/month) and 2-
Bedroom units of 1800 sqft ($2250/month). Others range from one-bedroom units
at 750 sqft ($1250/month) to 2-bedroom units of 1180 sq ft. ($2000/month)
We believe that our proposed mixed-use for the building will help to bridge the gap
between affordable and high-end residential units while providing other needed
amenities important to the revitalization of this area.
Much of the identified funding will help promote the historic character and economic
viability of this building. Beginning on the federal level with historic tax credits down,
to the local level of façade grants, this heavily traveled commercial street can receive
the necessary upgrades it needs and deserves to attract excited tenants who want to
be a part of the Renaissance of Downtown Baton Rouge.
Once a property is placed back into commerce after sitting unused, it is said that it
can “breathe” life back into the community. The mix of uses proposed for this
building will introduce services to this neighborhood, which will also be critical to the
renewed sense of place.
The Commerce Building presents a number of challenges. Despite these challenges,
the utilization of diverse funding sources, and creative problem solving, will allow this
project to be both culturally and economically viable. The project will be most
successful if the developer is committed to both the bottom line and the success of
the Third Street corridor. In fact, those developers who currently own property in the
immediate vicinity will reap the economic benefit of a successful project. This project
has the potential to have a lasting, positive impact on a number of levels for
downtown Baton Rouge.
The Red team would like to thank the National Historic Trust, as well as The
Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and all of the citizens of Baton Rouge, for giving
us an opportunity to work on this project.
42 This page has been intentionally left blank
THE HUEY P. LONG
This page has been intentionally left blank
Team Project: The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse,
completed in 1932, is one of the
original buildings on the Louisiana
State University (LSU) campus. Built
under Long's leadership, the
Fieldhouse was the original student
union, with a ballroom, soda
fountain, post office, beauty parlor,
barber shop, racquetball courts, and
outdoor swimming pool. The
architecture illustrates the
University's evolution from a humble
agricultural state school to a
prestigious institution of higher
education—strong, elegant, and a site
Often described as having the appearance of a "Roman Bath," due to its beautiful
architectural details, this facility was also built to be the longest pool in the country
per Long's dream to create the best university in the United States. The Fieldhouse
was designed by the same architectural firm that designed the Old State Capitol and
governor's mansion. The building is listed in the state and National Register of
Historic Places, as part of the LSU Historic District nomination. According to the state
nomination form, the building is significant "because it embodies distinctive
characteristics of a type of period, and method of construction that represents the
work of a master and possesses high artistic value."
From its completion in 1932 until the 1970s, the HPL pool hosted many swim lessons
for students of all ages, and it was required that LSU students complete a swim class
during their tenure at the University. In 1988 the men's swim team, which trained at
the HPL pool, won the Southeastern Conference championship. Unfortunately, since
the 1960s the Huey P. Long pool has suffered from lack of maintenance. The pool
was drained and finally closed around 1999.
HUEY P. LONG FIELDHOUSE AND POOL IN BRIEF
Address near Tiger Stadium, LSU
Owner Louisiana State University
Architects Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth
Directed by Huey P. Long
Style Italian Renaissance
Square Footage 50,500 sq. ft. (Fieldhouse) 30,500 sq. ft. (pool)
HISTORY OF LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Louisiana State University had its origin in several land grants made by the United
States government in the early 1800s for use as a seminary of learning. In 1853 the
Louisiana General Assembly established the Seminary of Learning of the State of
Louisiana near Pineville, La. It was founded as a military academy and is still today
steeped in military tradition, giving rise to the school's nickname "The Ole War
The institution opened January 1860, with Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman as
superintendent. A year later, Sherman resigned his position after Louisiana seceded
from the Union. The school was forced to close in June 1861. It reopened briefly two
years later, but closed once again with the invasion of the Red River Valley by the
Union Army and it remained closed for the rest of the war. Following the
Confederate surrender, General Sherman donated two cannons, which had been used
during the firing upon Fort Sumter, to the institution. The cannons are still displayed
in front of LSU's Military Science building.
The seminary officially reopened its doors in October 1865. In 1869 it was destroyed
by fire, and classes moved to the State School for the Deaf and Dumb in Baton
Rouge. In 1870 the name of the institution was officially changed to Louisiana State
In 1886 the institution again moved, this time to the Pentagon Barracks, an 1819
military installation consisting of four linear galleried buildings disposed around a
pentagon-shaped court. The college also occupied other nearby buildings, adding to
its campus in a piecemeal fashion during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But
the flourishing university outgrew its quarters and could no longer expand because
the campus was hemmed in by the city of Baton Rouge on the south and east, the
University Lake on the north, and the Mississippi River on the west.
In 1918, largely through the efforts of President Thomas Boyd, the University
purchased Gartness Plantation south of downtown Baton Rouge to be the site of a
new and expanded campus. The following year successful gubernatorial candidate
John M. Parker made the development of the "Greater University" a salient feature of
his campaign. Ground-breaking ceremonies took place in 1922, and the new campus
was formally dedicated on April 30, 1926. Classes were actually held on the new site
beginning in the fall semester of 1925.
In 1928 LSU had only 1,800 students, 168 faculty members, and an annual operating
budget of $800,000. That would soon change. In 1930 Louisiana Governor Huey
Long initiated a massive building program on campus to expand the physical plant
and add departments. Six years later, LSU had a faculty of 394 professors, a new
medical school, more than 6,000 students, and a winning football team. In less than a
decade, the school had increased in size from 88th in the nation to 20th, and it was
the 11th largest state university in the country.
Today LSU's enrollment is more than 26,000 students, including more than 1,400
international students and over 4,000 graduate students.
HISTORY OF LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY’S CAMPUS
Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge is the principal campus of the state
university system. The current LSU campus is located on 2,000 acres just south of
downtown Baton Rouge. A majority of the university's 250 buildings, most of which
were built between 1925 and 1940, occupy a 650-acre plateau on the banks of the
The Olmsted Brothers firm of Brookline, Mass., designed the current campus around
1921 when LSU was planning to move its campus from downtown Baton Rouge. The
firm originally designed the campus for up to 3,000 students, but state officials
asked the firm to scale back the plan due to budgetary constraints. The new plan
presented to the state by the Olmsted Brothers centered the campus around a
cruciform-shaped quadrangle similar to the one that exists on campus today.
For reasons unknown, the Olmsted Brothers firm was dropped from the project, and
an architect named Theodore C. Link, who was well-known for designing Union
Station in St. Louis, Mo., took over the campus master plan.
The first building actually constructed on the present campus was the Swine Palace,
a livestock barn that is now the Reilly Theater. Most of the buildings that occupy the
university’s quad were completed between 1922 and 1925. Because the original
campus was designed to accommodate 1,500 students, space is now at a premium at
LSU’s campus is also known for the 1,200 live oak trees that shade the grounds of the
university. During the 1930s, landscape artist Steele Burden planted many of LSU’s
live oaks and magnolia trees, which are now valued at over $50 million. Many of the
azaleas, crepe myrtles, ligustrum, and camellias planted in the quadrangle were
added to the campus in the 1970s.
Fifty-seven buildings on the LSU campus are listed in the National Register of
Historic Places, and the campus is protected by the State Capital Historic District
The LSU Indian Mounds, which are part of a larger mound group spread throughout
the state, are located near the northwestern corner of the campus and were built an
estimated 5,000 years ago. Originally serving as territorial markers, or possible
symbols of group identity, the mounds are older than any other man-made structure
in the Americas, and predate the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The
mounds were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY HISTORIC DISTRICT
Although the historic buildings at LSU represent the work of five architectural firms,
credit belongs first and foremost to the original architect, Theodore C. Link. Link was
responsible for the essential layout of the campus and designed most of the original
buildings before his death in November 1923 at the age of 73. His designs defined the
Italian Renaissance character of the campus and subsequent architects had to work
within these parameters. Upon Link's death, the New Orleans firm of Wogan and
Bernard was selected to complete the work.
The centerpiece of Link's design was a paved balustrade plaza dominated by a 175-
foot campanile tower flanked by a pair of matching "trophy" halls with separate
forward-facing single-story pavilions. In front of the plaza complex was a large semi-
elliptical lawn. To the rear of the plaza was an axial double quad, composed of two
academic quadrangles intersecting in a cruciform pattern. To the south was a
smaller, less grandly conceived, engineering quad. Northwest of the double quad was
a new pentagon, four three-story dormitories placed in a configuration reminiscent of
the Pentagon Barracks, the university's former home.
Whether the Pentagon was part of Link's design is not known at present, but it was
certainly there in 1926 when the campus was dedicated, and contemporaneous
accounts indicate that Link was responsible for the overall campus layout. At the
time of the April 1926 dedication, several of the proposed quadrangle buildings had
not been constructed, and hence the cruciform quad plan was not completely
defined. Most of the buildings fronting the quadrangle had long arcades, or recessed
loggias, which provided shelter. (Link's drawings refer to them as "cloisters.") When
new buildings were added, they too were built with arcades, or loggias, and by
January 1939 hyphen arcades linked most buildings, creating an almost continuous
Growth of the campus was spurred by the ascension of Huey P. Long to power in
1928. As governor and later U. S. Senator and de facto governor, Long made the
growth and well-being of LSU a special item of personal interest, launching a major
building campaign which continued through the 1930s. Most of the buildings
constructed during this period are the work of Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth, a firm
responsible for other Long projects such as the State Capitol and the Governor's
Mansion. There are also three buildings designed by the Shreveport firm of Neild,
Somdal, and Neild and three 1938 buildings constructed by the Federal Works
A campus map dated January 1, 1939 shows that the quad configuration envisioned
by Link had been filled in, except for the northeast corner of the cross. Three square
towers, reminiscent of those seen in Italian hill towns, marked the area where the two
quads met, with the space for the fourth still vacant. The fourth tower came in 1959
with the construction of an extension to Thomas Boyd Hall which imitates the
original style of the campus. Link's grand design for the quad was finally completed.
The 1939 map reveals that the campus had developed in other areas as well. The
engineering quad acquired a fourth side, as planned by Link, and a law school was
built facing the tower complex across the semi-elliptical lawn. One of the most
monumental buildings on campus, the Law School, was designed to resemble the
United States Supreme Court Building. In this, of course, it departed from the
university's traditional Italian Renaissance flavor. The 1939 map shows that satellite
buildings had been constructed on almost every side of the original campus,
including a new dormitory quadrangle in the southeast corner.
THE HUEY P. LONG FIELDHOUSE AND POOL
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse was built in 1928-1932 and is a contributing structure to
the LSU Historic District. It is a three-story symmetrical building with a projecting
entrance pavilion culminating in a Mannerist broken segmental pediment. It also
features a side arcade in which arches spring from column capitals, and two large
front-facing balconies overlooking campus to the east.
Huey P. Long insisted that he build the
student center of the university. The
architects (Weiss, Dreyfous, and
Seiferth) came up with the idea of
having a Fieldhouse attached to the
student union which contained a Roman-
bath style swimming pool and arcade.
Long was something of a showboat, and
insisted his pool be longer than any
other pool in the country, so it was built
181 feet long (1 foot longer than the
standard pool). The water from the pool
was furnished by artisan wells. The
Fieldhouse also contained a post-office,
soda fountain, lounge room, book store,
The pool’s significance lies not only in its exceptional construction and mechanics,
but also for its impact on the lives of university students. In a Reveille article from
August of 1944 the Fieldhouse was described as a place, “where old friends gather,
new friends meet, dates are made, and sometimes broken.” However, the pool was
not just a purely recreational attraction, it was also used to help treat polio–stricken
children and was the home of mandatory swimming classes for each university
student. The pool became the battleground for segregation debate in the summer of
1964. In a Reveille article from June 1964, it was announced that an earthquake had
damaged the pool and forced it to close indefinitely. When University President John
Hunter declared that the pool would reopen solely as a teaching facility and would
no longer be accessible to students, it sparked a huge controversy over speculation
as to the real reason why it had been closed. The summer of 1964 was the first time
that African American students had been admitted to the university, and several of
these students had been denied access to the swimming pool and to other
Fieldhouse amenities. During this time, it was standard procedure in the South to
integrate but not to allow integration in social functions. The Fieldhouse pool was
unceremoniously reopened in April of 1965, without major incident.
RECENT HISTORY OF THE HUEY P. LONG FIELDHOUSE AND POOL
The pool, the surrounding racquetball courts, and the old gym were vacated in 1999
because of code issues, such as the lack of air conditioning, and accelerating
deterioration. Classrooms and office space in the front part of the Fieldhouse are still
in use and house the departments of Kinesiology and Social Work. The basement of
the Fieldhouse also features a large handball court and the former women’s gym. The
ballroom at the rear of the Fieldhouse has been converted into a dance studio.
In August of 2000, the LSU board of supervisors listened to Chancellor Mark Emmert
explain the desperate plight of buildings on campus. In his report, Emmert declared
that LSU had more than 318,000 square feet of “uninhabitable space,” in other words,
space that was in “such terrible disrepair that we have abandoned it.” In his address
to the Board he specifically mentioned that this included more than 21,000 square
feet in the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse. Other areas that he stated needed immediate
action included the gym armory and the music and dramatic arts building. The gym
armory has since been turned into the Cox Communications Center, and the music
and dramatic arts building has also undergone a major overhaul. However, the Huey
P. Long Fieldhouse remains unchanged.
Over the past 11 years, there have been at least three fundraising campaigns to raise
money to restore the Fieldhouse. All the money that has been collected has been
reallocated to other areas around the university, while the Fieldhouse has been left to
lie in ruins. The most recent campaign to save the Fieldhouse was spearheaded by
Aimee Schmitt, wife of LSU Swimming and Diving Coach Adam Schmitt.
Despite the pool’s storied background, the LSU Office of Facility Development has
determined that it cannot justify funding the pool since LSU has two other pools on
campus. According to LSU, it would take approximately $25 million to restore the
pool and Fieldhouse, and it would cost at least $5 million to renovate the pool alone.
LSU also has some $200 million in deferred maintenance on structures around
campus, including many of the original campus buildings. Over the last few years, the
lack of maintenance has caused the Fieldhouse to deteriorate further; vegetation
now grows around the pool and inside the pool basin. Much of the interior structure
has been vandalized. Graffiti can be found in the changing rooms and racquetball
FACTORS FOR REHABILITATION
A range of factors are relevant in developing adaptive-use strategies including
neighborhood support; nearby development; and planning initiatives that provide
vehicles and support services for the project.
1. Demographics: Population: 428,360 in 2008, projected 433,700 in 2010.
As of 2008: 48.2 % male; 51.8% female; 51.8% Caucasian; 44.5%
African-American; 6.6% Other
Median household income as of 2008: $46,563;
Median Age 32 years
2. Occupancy: Vacant
3. Zoning: Louisiana State University property is not zoned.
4. Designation: Contributing structure to the Louisiana State University Historic
5. State and Local Incentive Programs: HUD Financing for low-income/mixed-use
housing, New Markets Tax Credits, Certified Local Government Grants,
Modernization Tax Credits, Restoration Tax Abatement, Brownfields Program,
Rental Housing Rehabilitation Loans, Gap Financing, Land Banking, Rental Rehab,
Small Business Facade Grant, Industrial Development Bonds, and Pool Programs
6. Tax Credits: A certified rehabilitation of the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool
may be eligible for both state and federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. To
qualify for the 20% federal credit, the building must be designated within a
National Register Historic District and be used for income-producing purposes.
Because Baton Rouge falls under Go Zone legislation (extended to areas
devastated by disasters such as Hurricane Katrina), it was eligible for an
additional 6 percent federal tax credit. The Go Zone incentive technically ended
12/31/2009; however, legislation is currently being pursued to extend the Go
Zone credit. The Senate passed HR 4213 on March 10 but must go back through
House (to reconcile changes) and is expected to complete sometime in spring
2010. In Louisiana, state commercial tax credit returns up to 25% of eligible costs.
The building must be a contributing building to a Cultural District and must be
used for income producing purposes.
This page has been intentionally left blank
This page has been intentionally left blank
Erin Michelle Brush, The Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA
Ann Mullins, Wjmdesign, Aspen, CO
Travis Ratermann, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, AR
Ray Scriber, Louisiana Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA
W. Ryan Smith, Northwestern State University Cultural Resource Office,
Sue Weaver, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA
If the iconic Huey P. Long Pool building
were to be restored, it would be of great
benefit to the university and the
community. Not only would the now
vacant structure offer space for
recreational activities, it would also
provide classrooms for the College of
Education and community outreach
programs. These programs would focus
on health and wellness, obesity prevention,
diabetes research and education. This plan
is rooted in the College of Education’s plan
for community outreach to facilitate
healthy living in the state of Louisiana.
There will be classrooms for kinesiology
education as well as laboratories and
community programs for various nutrition,
physical education, and lifestyle studies,
thus creating the Huey P. Long Life Center.
There are four key areas that will breathe new life into this building. One of these is
the row of old racquetball courts that will be transformed into four to six classrooms
to be used at the discretion of the College of Education and its Department of
Kinesiology. These classrooms may serve as lecture rooms or learning laboratories
for the kinesiology program. The remaining courts would be transformed into multi-
use rooms for conferences, meeting rooms, and special events. A second significant
area is the rehabilitation of the old women’s gym. Three-fourths of the gym space
would be used for a basketball court. On the remaining fourth, there would be cardio
equipment which would be separated by a remote controlled curtain. This physical
fitness area would not only allow kinesiology students to have an excellent learning
laboratory space, but also would support the healthy living program by giving clients
a space to exercise. Nearby, the old women’s locker room would be divided into
both men and women’s locker rooms in order to meet the needs of all the students
The most iconic piece of the project is the restoration of the outdoor swimming
pool. The pool is the centerpiece of this project because of its ability to support
every aspect and goal of the project. The first priority of the pool is as a learning and
training facility for kinesiology students. Another priority is using the pool for health
and wellness education for local neighborhood youth. When the pool is not in use for
training and education, LSU students will be able to use the pool for recreational
activities. To increase the flexibility of the space, the restoration will include a hard
cover that can encase the pool surface to provide additional floor space. With the
cover, the pool area can be used during other campus activities or rented out for
special events such as tailgating or celebrations. Through these activities it creates
an opportunity to exercise the three “P’s” which include “Preservation of the building
– Providing services for the public, including students, university, and community –
Perpetuate the mission of the Huey P. Long Life Center.”
One of the primary goals of this restoration is to support healthy living throughout
Louisiana and locally in Baton Rouge, especially the vulnerable and underserved
communities. Louisiana State University has already made a commitment to
community outreach, and the College of Education’s kinesiology department has in
its curriculum an existing childhood health and wellness education program. These
programs seem a natural partner for community efforts to improve the health of
Louisiana. As the building stands on the grounds of LSU, the university will own and
operate it via the facilities management department, with program support staff
coordinating the community outreach and the College of Education coordinating the
educational resources. This will make communication between the program
implementation and operation a smooth success.
Community Involvement, Support, and Opposition
The Huey P. Long Field House and Pool has long been an icon on the LSU campus.
Both the communities of Baton Rouge and LSU would regret the loss of this
irreplaceable building and pool. But the obvious challenge is to find the funds to
rehabilitate the complex - to preserve, and to generate enough revenue to cover the
operational costs – to provide services so that the building and pool remain as a
recreational and educational asset for the public into the future - to perpetuate this
facility at the university.
While it seems there is enough community support and little opposition, this cannot
be verified until all the stakeholders are heard. We would propose holding a series of
public meetings including the following to test our assumptions and ideas.
• Held on LSU campus
• Target LSU stakeholders, but all stakeholders invited
• Generate discussion of pros/cons, constraints/opportunities
• Prioritize wish list and needs
• Explore interdependencies and mutually supportive activities
• Identify additional user populations and uses
• Held at a public venue
• Target public and private stakeholders, but all stakeholders invited
• Include key LSU representative stakeholders
• Generate discussion of pros/cons, constraints/opportunities
• Prioritize wish list and needs
• Explore interdependencies and mutually supportive activities
• Identify additional user populations and uses
• Explore partnerships between public, private and LSU
• Include all stakeholders and public
• Present draft recommendations including pro forma, physical improvements,
and schedule of uses
• Generate discussion, which will inform final recommendation
Through this series of meetings (or a similar process with all interested parties),
consensus and support for the project would be gathered. The Foundation for
Historical Louisiana and the Save Huey P. Long Pool organization should be leaders
in the bricks-and-mortar preservation efforts in conjunction with the LSU Facilities
Services. Other health and wellness organizations and the College of Education will
take more active roles in the programming support and use.
STAKEHOLDERS - LSU ROLE OBJECTIVE
Department of Kinesiology User Research Space, Classroom, Events
LSU Foundation Donor Tier 1 University
Department of Agriculture User Education
Faculty User Recreation, Exercise, Social, Events
Students User Recreation, Exercise, Social, Events
Facilities Management Maint. Manager Ease of Care, Minimum Cost
Facilities Management Master Plan Master Plan Coherence
Administration Overseer Tier 1 University
Tiger Athletic Foundation Donor Enhance Athletic Department,
Athletics Department User Athlete Training
Housing Office Provider Recreation Facilities for Residents
Recreation Department Provider Enhance, Diverse Recreation
Alumni User, Donor Restoration, Special Events
Alumni Association Donor Venue for Events
Other LSU Departments User Special Events
STAKEHOLDERS ROLE OBJECTIVE
– PUBLIC & PRIVATE
Old South Baton Rouge User Recreation, Education
East Baton Rouge Supporter City Enhancement
BREC (Baton Rouge park system) Supporter Parks Augmentation
Baton Rouge Area Foundation Donor City Improvement
Wilson Foundation Donor Health Improvement for Underserved
East Baton Rouge Parish schools User Expand School Services
Religious Community User Expanding Youth/Child Services
City of Baton Rouge User Festival Venue
Blue Cross Blue Shield Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Exxon/Mobil Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Shell Oil Company Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Kleinpeter Dairy Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Hospitals, Health Providers Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Albermarle Foundation Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
POOLCORP Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Pennington Biomedical Research Donor Support Community and LSU, Naming
Ochsner Medical Center Donor/User Support Community and LSU, Naming,
Provide health services
Tangible Needs and Concerns
LSU’s mission as a flagship university requires its focus on research and education
endeavors that enhance its Tier 1 status. One primary focus is its health sciences
programs, represented by the biomedical research center and medical school.
Recently, the chancellor has expressed support for a community-university
partnership (see LSUCUP website) that will include initiatives to embrace and benefit
the Old South Baton Rouge community which abuts the campus. The College of
Education needs additional space for classrooms and laboratories for the kinesiology
degree program. Students and alumni have expressed a desire for new recreation
services in branch facilities across campus.
Baton Rouge has shown its concern for futuristic planning through several Plan
Baton Rouge reports. Certain pervasive health problems are acknowledged as
problematic, and Baton Rouge is designated as one of four National League of Cities
grant recipients. Some of these problems such as childhood obesity and diabetes
have a greater effect on underrepresented populations, such as the residents of Old
South Baton Rouge. In addition, the general deterioration in the Old South Baton
Rouge community is to be addressed by the Redevelopment Authority, although
efforts toward that end have lacked funding. Youth and seniors in the area have a
particular need for exercise and nutrition education. Personal health and community
revitalization will require sensitive approaches to overcome real or imagined
perceptions of isolation from the university and the downtown area.
Department of Kinesiology Mission:
“The Department of Kinesiology is concerned with the many aspects of human
movement and its application to physical activity and the quality of life. Faculty
members are dedicated to a broad understanding of health and exercise in schools,
community fitness centers, hospitals, rehabilitation units, business and industry, and a
variety of sport settings. The program explores a full continuum of processes and
outcomes, and is concerned with individuals ranging from young to old, healthy to
diseased, and skilled to unskilled.”
LSU’s Community-University Partnership Mission:
“Teaching, research, and service are all essential
components of LSU’s mission as Louisiana’s flagship
institution. LSU’s service contributions encompass
instruction, continuing education, research, service-
learning, volunteerism, and more. This sense of
outreach permeates the entire University and extends
beyond its gates. As an urban institution, LSU is
committed to use its extensive resources to solve
economic, environmental, and social challenges. The
Community University Partnership (CUP) exhibits the
University’s commitment to community in a variety of
these areas, with a concentrated focus upon Old South
Baton Rouge and the neighborhoods immediately north
of LSU's campus.”
Market Needs and Desires
The Huey P. Long Life Center will serve the LSU population and the City of Baton
Rouge. Through numerous interviews with city staff, LSU representatives and other
interested parties, it has been shown that there is great support for retaining the pool
and fieldhouse as a recreational center. The new approach presented here creates a
partnership between the university, the city, and other partners. In the current
economic climate and probably into the future, cities and institutions need to
combine and share their resources and users. The model of separation and isolation
will no longer be viable. This recommendation also supports the reuse of existing
resources rather than creating new resources, and it promotes maximizing the use of
the building and pool in terms of number of users, variety of uses and hours/days of
The primary goal of the Long Life Center will be to serve as a healthy living center to
identify and promote exercise, nutrition and education, the three ways to achieve a
healthy life. The pool remains as a recreational swimming facility with exercise and
cardio-vascular equipment installed in the former Women’s Gym. Additional
recreational equipment may be installed in the old racquetballl courts, including a
climbing wall. The second story walkway will be resurfaced so that it can be used as
a running track. Open pool time will be provided for faculty and students from
nearby residential halls, but not limited to those students. More structured and
scheduled time will be available for residents of the Old South Baton Rouge
neighborhood, daycare groups (senior citizen and children), summer parks programs,
summer camps, people with disabilities and other special interest groups as needed.
A potential schedule could accommodate organized groups in the morning and free
swimming for the LSU population in the afternoon and evenings.
One or two of the classrooms that are created in the old racquetball courts will be
used as nutritional education centers. A simple kitchen will be installed to allow
children’s groups primarily to learn about and prepare healthy meals. Space outside,
whether planter boxes around the running track or standing planters, will be
provided to grow herbs and some vegetables for use in the kitchen. Along with
hands-on cooking and kitchen chemistry, nutrition classes will also be offered. There
is the potential to tap into the College of Agriculture’s nutrition program for support
with this effort.
While education will be inherent in each of the activities at the Long Life Center,
structured education will come from the Department of Kinesiology ability to expand
their program of education and research in the building. Using again the model of
shared resources, the department will have scheduled access to all the exercise
equipment in the complex for their research, partner with some of the visiting groups
for research participants, and have dedicated classrooms for their use.
The uses and users described above will generate some income in the form of fees
and memberships, which we propose augmenting with revenue from renting the
facility for special events. The pool can be decked over so that it can be a venue for
various events such as weddings, football game day activities, formal university
gatherings, and various Baton Rouge festivals, such as the film festival (dive-in
movies). The pool can also remain open for various other events. Several spaces in
the old racquetball courts will be available as set-up rooms. The building will be
wired to accommodate large viewing screens. A small catering kitchen will be built
into the complex and restrooms including the men’s and women’s locker rooms will
External Factors and Proposed Usage
The economy of post-Katrina Louisiana and the general decline in the national
economy have created a revenue shortfall that will continue for the foreseeable
future. Many projects are now low priority. The Huey P. Long Pool & Fieldhouse is
13th on LSU’s priority list of projects. In addition, the only identified constituencies for
the project are the College of Education kinesiology department and a fledgling Save
the Pool group. The lack of connectivity between LSU and its Old South Baton Rouge
neighborhood is an obstacle. The lack of a coalition of partners to drive the project
The challenge of limited state money presents the opportunity to locate external
partners to meet the funding needs of the campus and target populations. Some of
these are identified elsewhere in the report.
The high profile of health challenges of Louisiana and Baton Rouge will be an
advantage. There are committed leaders at the university and the city who are on
record as supporting community-university partnerships of this type. The
establishment of the Redevelopment Authority provides creative approaches and
funding that will be an advantage. There are also external partners at the federal
level that may be mobilized through the National League of Cities. Below is an
excerpt from the Opinion section of the Baton Rouge Advocate from Wednesday,
June 9, 2010.
“Childhood obesity is an epidemic across America, and the problem is
worse here than in many other parts of the country.
That’s why we’re glad that Baton Rouge is one of four cities chosen to
participate in the National League of Cities childhood obesity program.
Little Rock and North Little Rock, Ark., and Tupelo, Miss., are the other
Roxson Welch, education out-reach coordinator for Baton Rouge Mayor
Kip Holden, said the league plans to set up an 18-month partnership with
Baton Rouge to assist in the development of community wellness plans.
Last year, Louisiana ranked seventh in the nation for children ages 10
through 17 who are overweight or obese.”
The academic (curriculum and research) goals of the kinesiology department are
very congruent with the needs of the Old South Baton Rouge community, including
exercise and education for children and seniors in particular. The Pennington
Biomedical Research Center and LSU Health Sciences Center will be willing partners
to guide the health-related agenda for faculty with additional potential support from
a hospital such as Ochsner.
CURRENT BUILDING CONDITIONS AND PROJECT RECOMMENDATIONS
Proposed Uses, Proposed Renovations, and Resulting Integrity
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool can accommodate many different types of
uses. In fact, it was a challenge to narrow the list of possible uses. In order to
facilitate narrowing of the possible uses, we decided to limit the uses to a select few
that could be properly implemented in full as opposed to a larger number of uses
that would be watered down by an attempt to accommodate the larger number. The
proposed uses will serve a diverse set of individuals from both the university
community and the nearby Old South Baton Rouge community, resulting in the
creation of the Long Life Center.
We looked at the building as three areas: the pool/deck area, the gym wing, and the
racquetball court wing. For our proposal, the pool/deck area would continue to
function as a swimming pool. It would have an added function as a leasable events
center with a tie-in to the dance studio area.
The gym wing would continue to function as a gym. The space would be divided by
the use of a dividing curtain. One side of the division would house a basketball court
while the other side would be used for cardio equipment. The gym could also serve
to meet the needs of the Department of Kinesiology. The gym would be dedicated
to the needs of the kinesiology department during the hours of its classes/labs and
open to student and faculty use at all other times. It would also be available as lease
space to be used in conjunction with the events center.
The racquetball court wing would gain new life as a classroom/rental space area.
There are currently 8 racquetball courts. Our proposal would create up to 16 spaces
by adding a second floor in the current two-story high rooms. The configuration of
these spaces would be dictated by the needs of the Department of Kinesiology for
classroom/lab space. Our proposal is to make 10 of the spaces available to this
department while using the remaining 6 spaces for lease spaces used in conjunction
with the events center.
Physical changes needed to accommodate the Long Life Center will minimally affect
the integrity of the building. The maximum changes needed to fully implement our
proposal are limited to:
1. A retractable pool deck structure that would allow the pool to be covered
as desired for revenue generating events in the events center. The pool
itself would likely have to be altered to allow for storage space for the deck
structure in its retracted state.
2. The only physical change to the gym wing would be the addition of a
dividing curtain to be hung from the existing roof support structure of the
3. The racquetball court wing would be the area most impacted by physical
change. A second floor would be added in the court spaces. In addition, it
would be necessary to create window openings to accommodate the new
uses of classroom and lease spaces. These windows would replicate the
windows of the gym wing.
4. Physical changes would be necessary in order to comply with ADA
requirements. These changes could be easily made on the back side of the
racquetball wing in an area that is not visible from any street view. The
area is visible only from a rear parking lot and service alley.
5. The current women’s locker room would be divided in half in order to
provide both men’s and women’s locker room facilities. The current men’s
locker room would provide community classroom space, office space,
public restroom space, and space for mechanical equipment.
The minimum changes needed to implement the Long Life Center would be items 3 &
4 above. The pool area could function as an events center without the retractable
deck structure. However, the flexibility of this space would be limited without the
ability to cover the pool as desired. The gym could function as proposed without the
dividing curtain. The locker rooms could also continue to function in their current
respective capacities. By implementing only the minimum changes, the amount of
potential rental income would be reduced.
Project Regulations and Compliance
Since this building is located on a university campus, it is not subject to zoning
regulations. Other than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we have
discovered no environmental or regulatory compliance issues. The building is a
contributing element to the Louisiana State University National Register Historic
District, which subjects it to design review by the Louisiana State Historic
Preservation Office (SHPO) for a Certificate of Appropriateness. All changes
included in our proposal should meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards and would
therefore be readily approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.
To comply with ADA issues, an elevator addition will be constructed on a visually
unobtrusive area of the building. Ramps may also be necessary in certain areas of
the building, but these can also be installed in such a way as to minimize the visual
impact. Spaces allocated for locker rooms/rest rooms should be able to easily
accommodate ADA requirements.
Pedestrian and Vehicular Access
Pedestrian access to the Long Life Center is more than adequately accommodated
by entries on all four sides of the building. Vehicular access is also adequately
accommodated by street or driveway access on all four sides of the building.
Parking would be accommodated by the current surface parking lots located
throughout the building’s vicinity. In addition, the 2003 Campus Master Plan
indicates that a parking deck structure will be constructed within one block of the
Long Life Center at some point in the future. Service vehicles can access the
building from the parking lot/service alley located on the south side of the building
near the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. City bus service currently accesses the
LSU campus along Highland Road, a short walk from the Fieldhouse. Campus bus
service passes immediately in front of the building on Fieldhouse Drive.
The pool will only be open to the public during certain hours. During these hours of
public access, a lifeguard will be on duty. Decorative iron railing will be installed
between the columns on the rotunda end of the pool building to prevent access
during the hours that the pool is closed. During the hours when the pool is not in
use, the retractable pool deck cover will be closed over the pool and will prevent
unauthorized use. All other aspects of the facility are in line with other functions that
currently are a part of the campus.
FINANCING AND ECONOMIC VITALITY
Assessing the financial feasibility for the Long Life Center is based within three
categories of the facility’s proposed utilization. First, the Long Life Center requires a
substantial investment to preserve both the historic and structural integrity, and the
functionality of the facility. Upon completion of the ‘brick and mortar’ preservation
and rehabilitation work, the Long Life Center must then move forward in a direction
where the facility begins to provide the desired services to a diverse range of users
and generate a measurable cash flow for the resource’s primary steward –Louisiana
State University. Finally, the Long Life Center must remain a sustainable project
which is consistently able to remain open for public enjoyment and benefit.
Step 1: Preserving the Historically Significant Resource
The political reality of 2010 means that the stalwart National Park Service ‘brick and
mortar’ preservation programs, Save Americas Treasures and Preserve America, are
not at the time of this proposal
considered viable options for
financing the Long Life Center’s dire
preservation needs. Should the
funding programs recommence
within the immediate future, it is
strongly advised that preservation
funding (up to $700,000 federal
share) and planning funding (up to
$250,000 federal share) from these
programs be considered to
subsidize the project’s early stages.
Until that time, preservation and
rehabilitation work should be funded
by private means primarily through
a) donations and b) strategic
Donations- Donations may result from traditional advocacy and fundraising
campaigns, although even the best efforts in such activities will admittedly not likely
fulfill the needs of the project. Private LSU alumni donations should be sought out
with a sense of urgency and vigor. LSU has created a broad range of successful
alumni who may not even be aware of the depth of the present situation at the Huey
P. Long Swimming Pool. In this vein it is essential that support from the LSU
Foundation and the Tiger Athletic Foundation be acquired.
Corporate Sponsors- Corporate and semiprivate entities will likely bear the brunt of
initial financing of the Long Life Center. Preliminarily identified viable sponsors
include: Blue-Cross/Blue-Shield, the Ochsner Medical Center, the Pennington
Biomedical Research Center, the Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, the Baton
Rouge Area Foundation, the LSU Community University Partnership, the Wilson
Foundation, the Albermarle Foundation and POOLCORP, along with various
partnerships from the petro-chemical and agribusiness industries.
Step 2: Making the Long Life Center Provide Essential Services & Revenue
The budgetary reality of Louisiana’s current secondary education system means that
day-to-day community outreach programs essential to the Long Life Centers mission
for the public must be financed by external revenues. Fortunately, a number of and
great variety of revenue producing or subsidizing options are currently available to
provide external financial support.
Private Obesity-Fighting Grants and Funding Programs- Millions of dollars are
awarded to practical research and action-based programs that fight adult and
childhood obesity by private corporations and special interest foundations. The Long
Life Center will provide an excellent venue to support and promote these causes.
One preliminarily identified viable funding agent is the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation which in 2009 awarded $350 million in projects which sought to fight
childhood and vulnerable population obesity, along with other related interests. This
foundation has awarded funding for such projects of between $1,200 and $50
million dollars in past grant cycles.
Federal Subsidies- Federal community health programs have recently gained revived
attention from the emphasis on their importance as advocated by First Lady Michelle
Obama. Federal block grants, discretionary project grants, and budgetary earmarks
are currently viable options to the continued success of the Long Life Center’s
community service oriented mission. The National League of Cities selection of
Baton Rouge to participate in its childhood obesity program will also help fulfill this
Non-grant Funded Children’s Programming- Children’s programming which will not
be covered by subsidies or grant funding may also generate revenue for the facility.
Seasonal swim lessons, day camps and daycare programs have been identified as
potential revenue producers.
Special Events Rental Facilities- The Long Life Center’s historic architecture, physical
layout, and proximity to LSU’s primary athletic stadiums present a unique
opportunity to generate special events rental revenue throughout the calendar year.
Rental revenues can be acquired through the leasing of either a portion of, or the
entire facility, for LSU athletics home game revels, college social organization parties
and formals, graduation celebrations, wedding receptions, banquets, and
organizational meeting space.
Step 3: Making the Long Life able to Perpetuate its Mission
It is likely that LSU’s principal financial responsibility as the primary steward of the
Long Life Center will be keeping the facility maintained, open, safe and adequately
staffed. These operating costs may be offset in a number of means from both private
and public funding.
Grant Award-Based Staff Positions- It is not uncommon for academic research and
development positions within a university setting to be funded based on their ability
to generate revenue for the university through the successful completion of research
grants. The few staff positions required to operate the public services and coordinate
the special events scheduling may be largely funded through such initiatives on a
short or medium term basis as future budgetary conditions demand.
Special Events Rental Revenue- Maintenance costs, repairs and security funding may
be supplemented through special events rental revenue. As designed, LSU’s budgets
would be as lightly affected by the Long Life Center as possible.
Volunteer and Student Staffing Support- Special events and social services staffing
needs may be supplemented through the aid of appropriate volunteers and LSU
College of Education students as part of their curriculum requirements, or to fulfill
service learning and internship obligations.
Preserve the building
Cost estimates are based on a preliminary study conducted by the LSU Office of
Campus Planning. The initial goal is to secure 50% of the restoration cost, which
could move the project from its current spot at # 13 on the LSU priority list to very
near the top of the priority list.
Cost per LSU estimate $11,756,000
50% of cost fundraising goal $ 5,878,000
Corporate/individual naming rights $ 4,000,000
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Ochsner Medical Center
Hospitals, health providers
Alumni drive $ 1,000,000
Foundations $ 780,000
Fundraising events $ 100,000
Total Fundraising $ 5,880,000
Provide essential services and revenues
As noted previously in the plan, the primary financing for the essential services and
programs would come through grant and other funding options intended to fund
these type+ of services.
Perpetuate its Mission
LSU building facilities and services estimates that the annual operating cost of the
Long Life Center would be approximately $420,000. This cost total is based on an
estimated cost of $7 per square foot for the 60,000 square feet of space.
Football game day revenue $ 39,000
(6 games @ $6,500/game)
Special events (weddings, etc.) $ 108,000
(36 annually @ $3,000)
Smaller events $ 15,000
(50 annually @ $500)
(28,000 students @ $4 annually) $ 112,000
Faculty usage fees
(2,000 uses @ $2 each) $ 4,000
Swimming lessons/day care activities $ 5,000
(2,500 children @ $2 each)
(1,200 users @ $3 each) $ 3,600
Total potential revenue $ 286,600
The remainder of the annual operating cost would be assigned to the College of
Education for its use of the space to operate its degree programs in the building.
70 This page has been intentionally left blank
72 This page has been intentionally left blank
Michele Barker, Preservation Massachusetts, East Longmeadow, MA
Norman Chenevert, Chenevert Architects, Baton Rouge, LA
J. Scott Chotin, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, Lacombe, LA
Rebekah Dobrasko, South Carolina Department of Archives & History,
Judith Kennerk, Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands, Princeton Junction, NJ
Anita Robeson, Southlake, Texas, Historical Society, Southlake, TX
Built in 1932 as one of the original buildings on the Louisiana State University
campus, the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool was constructed as a multi-use
facility incorporating a student union, ballroom, soda fountain, post office, beauty
parlor, barber shop, racquetball courts, and outdoor swimming pool. The most
striking feature of the Italian Renaissance-style facility is the Fieldhouse’s colonnaded
courtyard, which envelops the 181-by-48-foot Pool with a two-story yellow-brick,
veneered building in a manner reminiscent of a Roman bath. A parapeted walkway
surmounts the colonnade and overlooks the Pool.
Designed by the New Orleans architectural firm of Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth, the
building today is part of the LSU National Historic District and is a state-designated
historical building. The Fieldhouse and Pool’s architects also designed the New State
Capitol and the Old Governor’s Mansion. The Fieldhouse and Pool played an
important role in the University’s transformation from a small state agricultural
school to a major institution of higher education. The Pool and its surrounding
Classical-style colonnade are emblematic of Gov. Huey Long’s ambition to transform
LSU into a leading American University. It is said that its length of 181 feet is due to
Long’s desire to make sure the Pool would be the largest in the United States.
A University requirement that all students take swimming lessons and the many
social functions incorporated in the Fieldhouse’s shops and services meant that for
decades the facility touched the lives of virtually every LSU student. Many LSU
alumni recall the Fieldhouse and Pool with nostalgic affection. As important as its
role as an athletic facility was its role as a social center, a place “where old friends
gather, new friends meet, dates are made, and sometimes broken.” [Reveille
magazine, August 1944] The Pool’s history also incorporated a charitable health care
component; for a while it was used in the therapeutic treatment of polio-stricken
children. [Cristina Kennedy, “The Kingfish’s Legacy: On the Past and Present of the
Huey P. Long Fieldhouse,” Context in Bloom, Fall 2008]
In recent decades, deferred maintenance has resulted in major deterioration of the
Fieldhouse and Pool. In 2003, the Pool was drained and closed, and the racquetball
courts, women’s gym, and locker rooms surrounding the Pool were vacated. LSU did,
however, make plans to rehabilitate the facility. The University’s 2003 Master Plan
targeted the Fieldhouse and Pool for renovation. LSU commissioned five teams of
architects and designers to develop proposals for reusing the building, primarily for a
combination of academic and recreational uses. Exploratory work was undertaken
on the building to identify structural issues, hazardous material abatement needs,
and other work that might be needed to stabilize the building envelope for potential
In 2005, the University was on the verge of the bidding process when damage from
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita diverted funding that had been intended for this project.
A backlog of deferred maintenance throughout the campus combined with funding
cuts through the latter half of the decade meant that this project was pushed to the
back burner. Recently, concerned LSU alumni and students have taken an interest in
the facility and are advocating for its rehabilitation. The Foundation for Historical
Louisiana (FHL) has been partnering with these advocates and the LSU swim team to
raise funds for this project.
PROJECT SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES
The scope of this proposal covers the Pool and two sections of the Fieldhouse:
• the portions of the Fieldhouse immediately surrounding the Pool and
encompassing the old gymnasium, locker rooms, and racquetball courts, plus a
basement area underneath the gym
• the women’s locker room located in the portion of the building that links to
the main block of the Fieldhouse.
[NOTE: The front portion of the Fieldhouse that are occupied by the Departments of
Kinesiology and Social Work is not included in the scope of this project.]
The objectives of this proposal are:
• Preservation of the architecturally and historically significant Fieldhouse and
• Establishment of a self-sustaining use for the structure that would not be
dependent on University funding.
• Making the Pool available to the larger LSU community.
• Creation of common areas that would support public use of the Pool and
provide additional recreational and/or gathering places.
• Creation of a venue to interpret such topics as the history of swimming and
athletics at LSU, the significance of the Fieldhouse and Pool in the
transformation of LSU from small agricultural school to a major University, the
role of Huey Long in LSU history, and/or the role of the Fieldhouse and Pool in
the University experience of generations of students.
To meet these objectives, we propose the creation of 32 residential units in the
portion of the Fieldhouse surrounding the Pool. After speaking with community and
business leaders and learning about different public and private partnerships in
existence at LSU, we believe that such a reuse meets several needs of the LSU
community. The Fieldhouse and Pool is located adjacent to Tiger Stadium, the P-Mac,
and other athletic arenas on campus. This proximity suggests a possible reuse as
housing for campus visitors attending athletic events and athletes being recruited as
potential University students. The large Pool in the center of the courtyard could
serve LSU students as the only outdoor Pool on campus.
The proposed residential units could be leased as apartments occupied by year-
round tenants or as extended-stay hotel suites that could be rented on a weekly or
monthly basis. Potential users of extended-stay suites could include sports-oriented
visitors, visiting faculty and researchers, parents of students, and attendees at
conferences and other University programs. Long-term residents might include
alumni and boosters, faculty, empty-nesters seeking new housing in an academic
environment, and married students.
The women’s locker room and a basement area below the former gymnasium could
be rehabilitated into changing areas and public restrooms, and to create common
areas for additional recreational or gathering space.
The Pool and common areas would be used by Fieldhouse residents and guests and
by LSU faculty, students, visitors, and attendees in special programs, such as LSU’s
summer camps for children. Programs geared toward the general public, such as
swimming and water safety lessons, might draw in Baton Rouge residents from the
surrounding neighborhood. A specialized area of the Pool could be created for use
by the Department of Kinesiology for its fitness and physical therapy training
Within the newly created common areas, exhibit space could be created to display
photographs, artifacts, and information interpreting the history of this unique facility
and its place in the hearts and memories of LSU alumni. It could also serve as a
tribute to LSU’s strong athletic heritage. The common areas might also serve as a
satellite exhibit space for the LSU Alumni Association’s Andonie Museum.
LSU’s 2003 master plan “aspires to create a memorable living and learning
environment that reflects and supports the University’s commitment to excellence.”
The proposed new uses would be compatible with that aspiration and would further
the following goals listed in the plan:
• Enhance the campus’ distinctive character by utilizing the finest
qualities of the historic campus as a guide.
• Create a place that is people friendly, where life-long relationships are
While the master plan designated the Fieldhouse and Pool for renovation, University
funding will probably not be available for many years. Development of the project by
a private entity would accomplish the rehabilitation more quickly without requiring
University funds. Ongoing management of the completed project by a private entity
could relieve LSU of the financial burden of ongoing maintenance.
POTENTIAL PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
We believe that the LSU Alumni Association would be the best potential developer
and manager for the project, in keeping with the Association’s mission “to create and
nurture mutually beneficial relationships between the University and its alumni and
friends.” Providing a quality facility for the use of LSU alumni and friends of the
University would fit well within that mission.
As the self-designated “tradition keeper of the University,” the Association has the
resources, expertise, and connections to make this project happen. Over the course
of its longstanding and successful partnership with the University, the LSU Alumni
Association has established a reputation for competence and trustworthiness.
In addition to its long history of successfully raising funds from individual and
corporate donors, the LSU Alumni Association has a track record of successful
property management. The Association developed and oversees the management of
the Cook Hotel & Conference Center, and the Jack and Priscilla Andonie Museum for
the legacy of LSU athletics. The Cook Hotel is the only hotel owned and operated by
an alumni association in the world. According to the LSU Alumni Association website,
“a national board of managers sets policy and consists of successful entrepreneurs
who are dedicated to LSU, the LSU Alumni Association and The Cook Hotel
enterprise.” The Fieldhouse and Pool would be a natural satellite facility for the Cook
The Association’s 220,000 members could be a source of potential donors, investors,
tenants, and/or guests for a rehabilitated Fieldhouse and Pool. The Alumni
Association also has the influence to draw in additional non-profit partners who
might assist with funding through grants or loans. The LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation,
the LSU Foundation, and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation are a few of the
potential non-profit partners that might be interested in working with the Alumni
Association on the project. In addition, the Fieldhouse and Pool’s National Register
status could be used to attract for-profit investors interested in taking advantage of
the Federal Tax Credit for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings and associated
While the LSU Alumni Association is the most logical project developer and long-
term manager, the possibility of tax credits for historic-property rehabilitation means
that the project could still be viable should the Association decide not to undertake
it. An alternative scenario could involve a for-profit developer negotiating a long-
term lease with LSU and using tax credits to reduce project costs and make the
project financially feasible.
In addition to the University, its alumni, and the LSU Alumni Association, these
entities have a current or potential stake in supporting the Fieldhouse and Pool
• Current students – The fitness center at the Student Recreation Complex is on
the opposite side of campus from the Fieldhouse and Pool. Students living in
dormitories near the Fieldhouse and Pool have expressed a desire for a
recreational facility closer to their dormitories. Members of the swim team are
currently partnering with the Foundation for Historical Louisiana to raise funds
for Pool restoration. Preservationists Around Campus, a student organization,
has been active in drawing media attention to the Pool’s condition.
• LSU College of Education -- The Department of Kinesiology, located in the
adjacent portion of the Fieldhouse, lost use of the Pool for its academic
programs when the facility was closed in 2003.
• Tiger Athletic Foundation -- This non-profit foundation is dedicated to
supporting LSU and its athletic program. The Foundation has funded many
capital projects to renovate or create new athletic facilities on campus.
• Local preservation community – The Foundation for Historical Louisiana,
Preservationists Around Campus, National Trust for Historic Preservation and
other groups and individuals have recognized the Fieldhouse and Pool as a
significant cultural resource worth preserving. A coalition of local Fieldhouse
and Pool advocates, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and members of the
LSU swim team have undertaken a grass-roots fundraising campaign for the
preservation of the facility.
• Residents of Baton Rouge and surrounding area -- LSU’s chancellor has been
working to foster a stronger relationship between the University and Baton
Rouge residents, particularly in neighborhoods near LSU. He has invited Baton
Rouge residents to make greater use of campus facilities. The Fieldhouse and
Pool could play a part in that outreach effort. For example, the Pool and
common areas could be made available for swimming and water safety
lessons and other programs open to the general public, such as LSU’s summer
camps for children.
• Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) -- "Presenting a prosperous and
attractive community" is BRAF’s goal. Although BRAF primarily works outside
of the LSU campus, it might be interested in elements of the project that
would make the Pool accessible to Baton Rouge residents. BRAF might also
be able to help identify appropriate sources of grant and/or loan funds and
potential non-profit or for-profit partners.
CONDITION OF THE BUILDING AND RECOMMENDATIONS
It is the recommendation of this consulting team that the highest and best use for
this historic structure is an adaptive reuse as a 32-unit apartment complex within the
existing building envelope. This complex would consist of sixteen 1,000-square-feet
one-bedroom apartments and sixteen 1,500-square-feet two-bedroom units. A
common multi-purpose room and Poolside restroom facilities would be included.
The gym and racquetball courts provide tall volumes of space that can be divided
horizontally, with a structural floor above and adjacent to the second-floor
promenade level. In the racquetball area, existing walls divide the space vertically. In
the gym area, new vertical partitions would be created. A roof-top addition would
accommodate a bedroom suite above the second floor to create the two-bedroom
units. The existing plumbing, HVAC, power, and lighting would all be removed and
replaced with new systems complying with current applicable codes for the new
The existing Pool and equipment would be removed and replaced with new Pool
equipment and a smaller and shallower Pool more conducive to leisure swimming
and relaxation. The reduction of the Pool would allow for more Pool decking. The
Pool-side courtyard would simulate a Roman bath environment, which was the
original design concept. Decorative paving or tilework would articulate the footprint
of the original Pool.
Because the Fieldhouse is part of a historic district, all proposed rehabilitation work
must be reviewed by the state Division of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and
conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation
Projects. We believe the three significant changes to the Fieldhouse and Pool that
we are suggesting are compatible with the Fieldhouse’s design, maintain the
building’s architectural integrity, and comply with the Standards.
The southern wing of the building used as racquetball courts has no windows. We
recommend the installation of windows within each new apartment/extended-stay
room to allow this wing of the building to be reused for residential purposes and
comply with safety codes. The new windows will reflect the recreational use of the
building and will be similar in style to the windows on the north wing in the
To increase the floor space within the second floor apartments, we recommend a
small rooftop addition that allows some apartments to have two bedrooms. This
addition will be designed and sited in a manner compatible with the historic
character of the building and will be set back from the edges of the roof in order to
minimize visibility of the addition from the ground.
In order to adapt the Pool to a recreational use, we recommend reducing the
footprint of the Pool and its depth. A change in tiling (color, size, shape) to
emphasize the original boundaries will suggest the original size and shape of the Pool
while allowing the Pool volume to be reduced.
In addition to meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, the rehabilitation of
the Fieldhouse and Pool should pursue LEED (Leaders in Energy Environmental
Design) certification. A careful attention to building materials, water use, and other
sustainable building practices could garner this rehabilitation project at least a LEED
The total complex is 86,188 net square feet, not including the Pool area. The east side
portion of the Fieldhouse, at 50,563 net square feet, is not part of this study. The
gym, racquetball courts, and locker rooms total 23,346 net square feet. This report is
focused only on the Pool area, gym, racquetball courts, and locker rooms, a total of
31,261 gross square feet.
Based on a Facility Assessment Report prepared by LSU Office of Campus Planning,
dated April 15, 2007, the building is in the following condition:
The exterior wall consisting of concrete and brick veneer is in fair condition, requiring
some patching and repointing of the brick. The windows consist of steel-framed
awning-type windows and single-glazed glass and are in fair condition. Exterior
doors and frames are metal and in generally poor condition. Handrails on the exit
stairs are steel and in fair condition. The roofing, predominantly low-slope, built-up
systems, is beyond its life expectancy and in need of replacement. The stairwells are
covered with hip clay-tile roofs on which the tiles could be reused. The gutters and
downspouts are copper and potentially reusable.
The interior partitions of the racquetball court are in good condition and reusable.
All other partitions are not correctly located for our proposed reuse and would be
removed and replaced. All finishes would be removed (floors, walls, and ceilings)
The new proposal will require that the exterior be preserved in its original style and
massing. The interior will be primarily demolished and reorganized for adaptive
reuse as a multi-family complex.
POOL: The Pool is abandoned and was observed to be in an advanced state of
disrepair. The Pool measures 181 by 48 feet and is from about 4 to 12 feet deep. The
Pool is of concrete construction with tiled walls. A new 1055 gallons-per-minute
sand filter system was installed in 1999 and is still in place. The Pool was heated by a
2870 MBH Raypak boiler, which is still in place.
The Pool and equipment need to be replaced. A smaller Pool would be more
conducive to leisurely swimming and allow an expansion of the surrounding Pool
The substructure is a cast-in-place reinforced concrete foundation with no basement,
and the super structure is concrete-framed columns. Beams and girders are
concrete and steel. The floor and roof is concrete construction. All appear to be in
generally sound condition with minimal refurbishment required.
A new steel mezzanine with a concrete deck would be placed 12 feet above the
existing floor of the racquetball courts and gym to create the second floor.
A rooftop addition would create the second bedroom for the upper units. The
exterior walls would be stucco and glass with a clay tile roof and be set back
approximately 5 feet from the existing parapet wall to minimize the view of the
addition from the street.
DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS: There are no operable systems in place. The building was
heated by steam unit heaters and radiators. Steam appears to have been supplied
from the Fieldhouse portion not included in this proposal and was distributed
through steel piping and cast-iron threaded fittings. Restrooms are ventilated
through wall- and roof-mounted exhaust fans. In 1976 an air handler unit with steam
coils was installed that heated the Pool. This system has been removed, but the
steam lines and equipment pad remain.
TERMINAL AND PACKAGE UNITS: There is a single window unit in a first floor office.
CONTROLS AND INSTRUMENTATION: There appear to be no operable control
systems in place. Temperature was controlled by wall-mounted electric thermostats.
Due to the availability of chilled water and steam via the loop systems, fan coil units
would be installed for central HVAC for the individual units and common area spaces,
with a VAV control system.
PIPING: Domestic water is supplied to the building by an underground service from
the campus main and is distributed within the building by galvanized piping. There
was no visible source of hot water, although the building is piped for hot water. The
primary sanitary system distribution is through cast-iron piping that flows by gravity
to the campus sewer main. Natural gas is distributed by black steel piping with
FIXTURES: The building has a single restroom on the gymnasium’s first floor with a
wall-hung lavatory and a floor-mounted flushometer type water closet. There is a
men’s locker room on the gym’s second floor equipped with wall hung lavatories,
floor-mount flushometer-type water closets, wall-hung urinal troughs, and shower
stalls. All plumbing fixtures are made of vitreous china. Drinking water was provided
by a free-standing water cooler inside of the gym, and wall-hung vitreous china
drinking fountains around the Pool deck. Hose bibs are located around the perimeter
of the building.
The complete plumbing systems would be replaced with new waste and supply lines
and new plumbing fixtures. Existing locker room and bathroom fixtures would be
removed when the building is rehabilitated.
FIRE PROTECTION: None observed.
A complete dry pipe system would be installed throughout the building.
ELECTRICAL SERVICE AND DISTRIBUTION: The building’s power service emanates
from a 120/208v, 1200A main switchboard located in the mechanical room. The
switchboard is equipped with fused switches that, in turn, supply power to
downstream panels located throughout the building.
EMERGENCY LIGHT AND POWER SYSTEMS: There is an 8kW, 20 Gal 120/208 V
skid-mounted generator with weatherproof enclosure for emergency system. The
generator is located outside the building. 100A, 480V ATS is located in the
mechanical room on the first floor.
Exit signs are located throughout the building.
LIGHTING AND BRANCH WIRING: Interior lighting typically consists of strip, lensed,
and recessed fluorescent and HID fixtures. All fluorescent fixtures in the workshop
area are equipped with T12 lamps and magnetic ballast. There are no occupancy
sensors for area lighting control.
The complete power and lighting systems would be replaced, beginning with main
and sub panels switches, receptacles, and fixtures.
Exterior lighting currently is provided by surface-mounted HID fixtures. New
architectural, landscaping, and security lighting would be provided.
COMMUNICATIONS AND SECURITY: The building has a conventional fire alarm panel
located in the Pool manager’s room. The fire alarm panel monitors system devices
and it is activated via pull stations and smoke detectors. Upon activation, the system
signals audio-visual alarms to sound.
The current codes (life safety, standard building code) classify this complex as
“Assembly.” The new design will require “Residential” and “Assembly” code
upgrades, including a fire sprinkler system in the interior portions of the building.
This will be addressed in the new design along with incorporating all ADA
requirements for accessibility, including the addition of an elevator. In meet safety
codes for residential use, windows will be added as needed. The city does not have
zoning jurisdiction on the LSU campus, but LSU has strict design guidelines that this
project would meet. All environmental issues (asbestos, lead paint, mold and
mildew) will be abated prior to construction.
Parking and Traffic
The main entrance/front door will be accessible from the west end of the complex at
grade level under a porte cochere. This will be a covered drop-off for the tenants to
temporarily park while unloading their vehicles. Parking lots exist adjacent to the
west and south of this building. Thirty-two parking spaces will be
allocated/dedicated to this complex, as assigned by the LSU Traffic Department.
Pedestrian access exists in this parking area and will be fed into the entrance to the
complex. Valet parking is an option for short-term users.
LSU has an independent police force dedicated to the safety and security of the
campus. In addition, this proposed complex would be equipped with a complete
security system, including CVC cameras strategically located and monitored by
campus police. Security will begin at the main entrance into the Pool area/courtyard,
with secondary security at the entrance door of each unit and common area.
Tenants and visitors staying in the residential units and students and faculty using
the Pool will need LSU ID cards for access into the gate. Smoke and fire alarms will
be tied into the security and sprinkler systems.
1. Environmental abatement $ 250,000
2. Demolition $ 250,000
3. Site work $ 100,000
4. Pool and deck $ 750,000
5. Exterior envelope renovation $ 1,000,000
6. Interior renovation
a. 31,261 s.f. existing space @ $100.00/s.f. $ 3,126,100
b. 23,346 s.f. new space @ $125.00/s.f.
7. Third-floor addition
8,000 s.f. @ $200.00/s.f. $2,000,000
8. Reroofing and flashing
150 s.f. @ $1,000.00/s.f. $ 150,000
9. General conditions (7%) $ 738,130
10. 10. O.H.&P. (6%) $ 676,971
Total Construction Cost $ 11,959,826
11. FF&E/interior design $ 1,500,000
12. Soft cost
a. A/E FEES $1,500,000
b. Legal fees $150,000
c. Environmental $100,000
13. Contingency (10%) $ 1,520,982
Total project cost $ 16,730,758
Due to the poor economy and tight state budgets, LSU’s buildings are suffering from
a backlog of more than $111 million in deferred maintenance. A multitude of
buildings, both historic and non-historic, are competing for limited state funds.
Financial sources outside of the state budget are crucial to making the rehabilitation
of the Pool a success.
Previous investigations and studies conducted by LSU estimate rehabilitation costs
of the Pool and the surrounding building to be close to $25 million. Some of the
scenarios presented in those studies included more extensive modifications and
additions than our proposal, which does not extend beyond the current building
footprint and includes only a modest rooftop addition. We estimate our rehabilitation
will cost approximately $17 million based on current economic conditions.
We recommend that the LSU Alumni Association pursue funding partnerships with a
variety of individuals and non-profit and for-profit entities to achieve a viable and
sustainable reuse of the Pool. We suggest that the Association set the following
target for sources of project funding: 1/3 of funds to come from individual and
corporate donations; 1/3 from historic tax-credit-eligible private investment, and 1/3
Individual and corporate donations: LSU alumni are expected to be significant and
enthusiastic supporters for this project. Many alumni are not yet aware of the
Fieldhouse and Pool’s current situation. We believe that once alumni are informed,
many will be eager to join the effort to save the Fieldhouse and Pool.
We recommend that the Alumni Association pursue a key donor to spearhead the
fundraising effort for the project, in the same way that Lod Cook led fundraising
efforts for the Cook Hotel & Convention Center. Subsequent to securing a donor, we
recommend that the Association pursue donations for naming opportunities for the
various rooms within the apartments/extended-stay suites. Alumni associated with
pool construction may be interested in sponsoring the rehabilitation and
maintenance of the Pool itself. Other fundraising strategies could include working
with the Friends of the Huey P. Long Pool, purchasing Pool tiles, purchasing
landscaping aspects, and supporting the exhibit on the history of the building. A
marketing plan, below, provides several recommendations for raising alumni
awareness and support.
The Association might also investigate the possibility of partnerships with other non-
profits such as the Tiger Athletic Foundation or the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to
obtain grant funding for the project.
Investment by for-profit partners: Another potential resource to attract funding for
this project could be the Federal Tax Credit for the Rehabilitation of Historic
Buildings. This tax credit would be available to a for-profit entity that would be a
long-term lessee of the building and would maintain the operation of the lease. The
Fieldhouse and Pool are contributing elements to the LSU Historic District and thus
are certified historic structures. The tax credit would encompass 20 percent of
eligible rehabilitation costs as long as the overall project meets the Secretary of the
Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Although some changes would be required to
the building for our proposed reuse, we believe these changes could be made in a
manner to meet the Standards.
If the project is approved for the federal tax credit, it will also be eligible for a
Louisiana state income tax credit of 25 percent. In order to create a tax-credit-
eligible project, the Association would need to form a for-profit subsidiary (if one
does not currently exist) that would lease the facility from LSU for at least 40 years.
The tax credits could be syndicated among individuals and/or businesses investing in
FINANCING AND POTENTIAL INCOME
The LSU Alumni Association has the ability to fundraise and to utilize public bond
financing to fund this project. The Association has set a precedent for this project by
its development and operation of the Lod Cook Conference Center and Hotel. The
Association has the management team in place to operate the proposed complex,
which should assist in a more efficient and cost-effective operation.
It is assumed that the rental income will be sufficient to satisfy the debt service and
expenses for the operations of this facility. The assumed income is based on the local
comparable rental rates:
1. 12 Month Lease @ $1.75/s.f.
a. 1 B.R./1,000 s.f. = $1,750.00/mo
b. 2 B.R./1,500 s.f. = $2,625.00/mo
2. Extended Stay @ $2.25/s.f.
a. 1 B.R./1,000 s.f. = $2,250.00/mo
b. 2 B.R./1,500 s.f. = $3,375.00/mo
Assuming the lower income potential, the annual income with a 5% vacancy factor is
$798,000.00 to apply toward expenses and debt service. The maximum income
would be as high as $1,080,000.00; the average income between the two is
It is further assumed that the historic tax credits will be sold for a portion of the
project equity, approximately 20% of the total $17 million project cost, equaling $3.4
million. In this conservative scenario, an additional $6 million would need to be
obtained through fundraising efforts. The balance of $7.6 million would be financed
through bond financing, utilizing a 50 year amortization at 3% interest, which would
create an annual debt service of approximately $300,000
Total project cost $17,000,000
Tax credits (assume 20% of project $ 3,400,000
Bond financing (50 years at 3%) $7,600,000
Amount to be obtained through $6,000,000
Average gross revenue 939,000
Operating costs 639,000
Debt service on 7.7 million 300,000
Annual income 0
(These projections are based on conservative income and cost projections. A more
optimistic revenue and operating cost scenario would allow for a higher level of bond
SUGGESTED MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM
Awareness, buy-in and active participation by LSU alumni will be essential for project
To facilitate alumni-specific support, we recommend a targeted, cross-channel
marketing, public relations, and fundraising campaign.
1) The Marketing and PR campaign could launch with a data-generating survey
of a cross-section of all alumni. The survey questions generated and data
acquired would measure alumni awareness of the deteriorating condition of
the Fieldhouse and Pool, and the level of alumni interest in and affinity with
Such a survey could be performed at relatively low cost via direct mail, e-mail,
or outbound telemarketing. Preservationists Around Campus, an LSU student
group, could be enlisted to assist with the survey and tabulate responses.
2) An influential LSU alumnus or LSU-affiliated celebrity sponsor could be
identified and recruited as a project spokesperson. This spokesperson would
allow his/her name and/or image to be used in marketing materials, and s/he
would provide a statement of support for the project that could be quoted in
marketing materials across all channels.
3) Channels for launching a wide-ranging publicity campaign could include: email
to alumni, alumni-targeted direct mail, announcements on alumni and LSU
websites. Press releases including images of the Fieldhouse and Pool’s current
and past condition could be distributed to the LSU campus paper and to
state-wide media. The Foundation for Historic Louisiana could be a key
partner in helping to get the word out statewide.
4) A new Fieldhouse and Pool-specific website and an e-newsletter could be
launched. The website could include opportunities for online donations via
PayPal or a similar entity. Use of a provider such as an e-marketing provider
such as Constant Contact should be considered in order to gather site
analytics to measure the website’s effectiveness.
Add "share-with-a-friend" functionality and take advantage of online social
networking tools to broaden the fundraising effort and enlist engaged alumni
as online advocates of project. The site could be linked to websites of affiliate
organizations such as LSU, Historic Preservation, Tigers Athletic Foundation,
and the Foundation for Historic Louisiana.
3) Ongoing campaign materials could feature three messages:
a) Celebrity spokesperson’s image and support statement
b) A variety of testimonials by LSU alumni presenting their memories of using the
Fieldhouse and Pool.
c) Call to action for donation. Once donations have reached critical mass (for
example, more than 50 percent of goal), an iconic thermometer image can be
incorporated to measure and communicate fund raising success.
4) A naming rights campaign could be launched, giving individual and corporate
donors the opportunity to have their name placed on components of the
project, such as commemorative Pool-side tile, pavers in walkways. Larger
donors could purchase the rights to have an apartment, garden or other
complex feature designated with the donor’s name. All naming rights
purchasers would be featured in the fundraising campaign. Naming rights
would be particularly attractive to corporate donors, especially sports-related
5) Alumni could be invited to share personal photographs for use in promotional
materials. Such images could be included in a gallery in the finished project’s
6) Contact strategy. The project contacts by channel should include at least one
The location of the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool near the athletic fields and
complexes at LSU makes the building a great candidate for use as an extended-stay
hotel or apartments. We believe that the combination of the location, the historic
architecture, and the reopening of an outdoor Pool will result in a successful
apartment/extended-stay hotel that again draws LSU faculty, athletes, students,
alumni, and others to this building. Once again, the building could be, as it was in
1944, a place “where old friends gather, new friends meet, [and] dates are made.”
94 This page has been intentionally left blank
Elizabeth Beckley, Preservation Maryland, Millington, MD
Jason Biggins, South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, SD
Susannah Bing, East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, Baton Rouge, LA
Donald Burgess, Harpers Ferry Historic Town Foundation, Harpers Ferry, WV
Ethiel Garlington, Knox Heritage, Inc., Knoxville, TN
Rarely as preservationists do we have the opportunity to save a building that has so
much social capital in the community and with constituents living across the globe.
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool is Louisiana State University’s most
significant, endangered property and additionally is one of the most beloved
buildings on campus.
Built in 1928, the Fieldhouse and Pool were part of the second phase of buildings
erected on LSU’s third campus. In genuine Huey Long fashion, the pool was the
longest college or university pool in the country by building it one foot longer than
the standard 180’ length. Designed by the New Orleans architectural firm, who also
designed the State Capitol, Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth, the building is listed as a
contributing building in the LSU National Register Historic District.
As expected, the pool and Fieldhouse became the heart of the campus. The complex
included the swimming pool, student lounge, post office, soda fountain, racquetball
courts, book store, and gymnasium. Historic photographs from Life magazine show
vibrant scenes of student parties and crowds of people.
During the Civil Rights era, the segregated pool was pushed into the spotlight during
the summer of 1964 when African-American students who had just been admitted to
LSU were denied access to the pool and other social functions. The controversy
likely led to the university closing the pool for the season, blaming the closure on
damage suffered from an earthquake. The pool did reopen in April 1965, but like so
many other sites across the south, the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool would
never be the same.
From 1965-1999 the complex continued to operate, but was replaced with newer,
more modern, facilities that met the growing needs of the university. In addition to
the construction of additional pools and recreational facilities for the students, the
Fieldhouse suffered from lack of maintenance and was vacated in 1999 due to code
violations and years of deferred maintenance.
Fortunately, a significant portion of the complex has been renovated and serves the
LSU Kinesiology Department and the School of Social Work. In fact, the historic
ballroom has even been converted to a dance studio, but the pool, gymnasium,
locker rooms, and racquetball courts have been left to suffer from “demolition by
In 2004, Aimee Schmitt toured the dilapidated complex with her husband, LSU swim
coach, Adam Schmitt. As an avid swimmer, she was instantly taken with the facility
and set to work preserving the icon. Like many preservation movements, the cause
often sparked by one quickly spreads too many. To date, Aimee has over 700
signatures on her online petition to save the complex and heartfelt comments and
memories from alumni.
Schmitt reached out to the LSU community and alumni to find preservation solutions
for the facility. With limited budgets, no viable plan, and low priority her advocacy
efforts have not gained significant traction. She worked with Foundation of
Historical Louisiana to raise $40,000 to fund a feasibility study. To date, FHL has
$10,000 raised and allotted for the preservation efforts.
The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool will re-open and be preserved.
• Preserve the historic integrity of the complex while making the building
viable and usable.
• Determine a viable/realistic use for the building that meets LSU constraints
while still respecting the historic nature of the building by partnering
private corporations, alumni association, student body, and LSU
• Preservation of pool, Fieldhouse, etc. is primary objective
• Proposed use
o saltwater pool
o recreational facilities for students
o research facilities for kinesiology department
o food vendors for students
o running track on upper level
o gathering place for students
• How will our plan accomplish the objective?
o Preserving the building with a needed function
o By meeting student needs
2. What are the key elements of your use plan?
• The natural use of this unique building is to return it to its original use. We
would update the historic fabric with modern amenities. For instance,
saltwater pools have recently been on the rise in the United States.
• Social center of the campus
• Small vendors
• Cut racquet ball courts in two, two story rooms. The first floor will be
classrooms for kinesiology. The second floor will be used for student
recreation facilities. The student body will be asked for their input on the
actual uses. Some suggestions have been cardio facilities, yoga/Pilates
studios, spin rooms, flex space for multiple uses, and weight rooms.
3. Who will operate the building?
• LSU will operate the building, but funding will be provided by local
partners such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Pennington Biomedical Research,
and Ochsner. Russell Long Mosley, the great-grandson of Huey P. Long,
could potentially be the leader on the Task Force.
• Since the building is on campus, it makes sense to have LSU continue to
own and operate the building.
Louisiana State University (LSU) Property owner, Facilities Management office
under the Department of Administration is
responsible for ongoing maintenance
LSU Foundation Manager of private donation funds for LSU
LSU Alumni Foundation Interest in preserving the pool (nostalgia),
LSU Office of Corporate and Fostering corporate relationships with LSU
LSU Student Body Primary user of proposed facility, fundraising
Kinesiology Department/School of Expanded classroom and laboratory space
Tiger Athletic Foundation
Old South Baton Rouge Neighborhood Expanded community services, summer classes
Foundation for Historical Louisiana Interest in preserving historic facility,
Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation Non-profit fundraising partner
National Trust for Historic Preservation Non-profit fundraising partner
Family of Huey P. Long Interest in preserving tangible aspect of family
Blue Cross Blue Shield Potential corporate fundraising partner
Ochsner Potential corporate fundraising partner
Pennington Biomedical Potential corporate fundraising partner
We do not anticipate there to be any community opposition to this project. In fact,
we expect that the community will embrace this project on several fronts. The
Fieldhouse facility will prove to be a valuable resource and bridge to the Old South
neighborhood and the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. This facility provides the
opportunity for educational programming and fitness oriented classes that address
the long term issues of drowning deaths and obesity that are common and pervasive
throughout Louisiana, as demonstrated in the “Louisiana Two Step” program
promoted by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The Fieldhouse facility offers LSU a wonderful
opportunity to further demonstrate its commitment to community, building on the
mission of the LSU Community University Partnership (CUP), which has a
concentrated focus on providing economic and educational benefits to Old South
Baton Rouge and the neighborhoods located to the North of campus. LSU can
promote the community programming being offer at the Fieldhouse Facility by
creating a marketing plan along with community and corporate partners.
Market for the proposed use
There are several viable markets for the proposed use of this facility. There is only
one recreational center located on the entire LSU campus located on the East side of
campus; a twenty five minute walk
for students housed on the West
side of campus. The existing
recreational center is currently
overcapacity and unable to
adequately service students needs,
effecting the quality of their
campus experience. In addition,
meeting and exceeding
expectations of first year students
is especially important, as the
overall quality of their LSU
experience during this time period
relates directly to retention rates
going forward. The faculty will also
have the added benefit of the
renovated Fieldhouse and Pool.
The School of Education, specifically the Kinesiology Department has long needed
additional classroom space. They do not currently have direct access to any
equipment that would facilitate their research or programs.
Educational and Fitness programs could be developed and offered to the greater
Baton Rouge community improving community relations and furthering the mission
of the LSU Community University Partnership (CUP).
Given the historic and nostalgic nature of the site, it would be a tremendous draw for
visiting alumnae, further deepening their ongoing connection to LSU. As a vibrant
and beautiful space, it provides a natural venue for enticing prospective students,
uniquely introducing them to the tradition, heart and lore of life at LSU.
The facility could be used on a year round basis, open from morning until evening
seven days a week. During times when the University is in recess, such as the Winter
Break period and during the summer months, community programming could be
Condition of the Building and Recommendations
Our group considered several potential uses for the Fieldhouse and pool, but
ultimately, only one use seems to make sense for the facility. The use of the building
as a second recreational facility for LSU students, particularly those on the west side
of campus, seems like an obvious choice. Because of state funding issues and natural
disasters, previous plans for this facility have never been realized. If action is not
taken soon, however, the building will continue to deteriorate.
CURRENT STATE OF THE HUEY P. LONG POOL AND FIELDHOUSE
The pool, gym, locker rooms, and
racquetball courts are rapidly
deteriorating. They have not
been used for about ten years
and in that time were in only fair
condition having been minimally
maintained and seeing few, if
any, upgrades to mechanicals,
fixtures, and other elements of
the building. The structure has
been vandalized over the last 10
years, contributing partially to its
decline – at the minimum
contributing significantly to its
dismal appearance. Fortunately,
the building envelope is largely
masonry – both concrete and
brick – and hence, can withstand “deferred maintenance” more than a frame
structure. In addition, the interior finishes are somewhat primitive – being a quasi-
outdoor structure (a pool) – and are a mixture of concrete, tile, and some plaster
which are more resistant to weathering than the interior fabric (such as in classrooms
or dormitory). However, even a largely masonry structure exposed to the elements
will eventually fail, and without stabilization and maintenance within the next 5 years,
the building will become structurally compromised and characteristic architectural
features will be lost.
A detailed feasibility study identifying failed/failing elements and proper corrective
measures and is well-outside the scope of this analysis. However, likely the brick
work needs significant re-pointing. There are several areas where significant cracks
in the masonry have occurred and need to be inspected by a structural engineer for
identification, who should be able to recommend structural stabilization approaches.
The nearly flat roofs (likely concrete) over the racquetball court and gym areas likely
should be replaced with slightly pitched roof to allow for water drainage. The
mechanicals – HVAC, plumbing, and electrical wiring all need to be replaced. The
interior finishes need to be examined as to whether or not they can be rehabilitated
or must be replaced (or a mixture).
Although the pool and associated spaces in the pool area of the Fieldhouse were
highly specialized uses, the size of the area and the open nature of the existing
spaces are potentially amenable to a variety of uses – there are many “adaptive
reuse” possibilities, including classroom space, “quirky” dormitory spaces, a
“boutique” hotel tailoring to alumni and game day activities, and likely many others.
The best and most obvious use, however, is returning the pool and Fieldhouse to a
gathering place for students (and possibly others) – recreating/restoring its original
“Sense of Place” and meeting a critical need of contemporary students – that of a
recreation center and associated uses. Although architectural rehabilitation is
important in historic preservation, answering the question “Why does this place
matter?” can be as important – and in this particular case, is MOST important.
Character-Defining Features and Potential Changes to the Historic Building
Because there does not seem to be a way to make use of various historic tax credit
programs, there will be some flexibility in altering the extant structure. However, the
ultimate goal remains the preservation of this valuable historic resource and
particularly its character-defining features. Additionally, the Louisiana State Historic
Preservation Office would have the opportunity to comment on the project, since the
building is listed as a contributing resource within the Louisiana State University
Historic District. Ideally, the Louisiana SHPO will be review and comment on drafts of
the plan prior to submittal of the final project proposal, and thus there will be no
surprises when the final proposal is submitted.
Character defining features on the Huey P. Long Pool and Fieldhouse include the
Mannerist broken segmental pediment on the projecting entrance to the building, the
symmetrical appearance of the overall structure, the upper level balcony rail on the
inside of the Fieldhouse, the windows, the pool itself, and the “Huey P. Long Pool and
Fieldhouse” name plate on the Fieldhouse wall (see photo below).
Under this proposal, a great deal of the historic fabric of the building would be
preserved, including all of the character-defining features. We believe that this new
use can be accommodated in the historic structure without a great deal of alteration.
Some new window openings may need to be cut into both the first and second floors
of the building in order to accommodate classroom space and cardio areas. The
HVAC would be upgraded, and an elevator shaft may need to be added to the
southwest corner of the building. The entrance pavilion would be completely
restored, and used as the entrance to the new recreation facility, and the upper level
balcony rail that will enclose the running track would be preserved, although a metal
rail may need to be added on top of it for safety reasons.
Adding a roof to the facility and enclosing it is certainly a possibility, and may in fact
be required in order to achieve a new use. This action may have negative
consequences for the historic fabric and overall historic appearance of the building,
however. Since the pool was historically an open facility, enclosing it harms the
historic integrity of the structure. The National Park Service outlines seven aspects
of historic integrity in National Register Bulletin #34, including location, design,
setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. Placing a roof on the
facility would harm the historic integrity in terms of feeling and association.
Balancing Rehabilitation Costs and Uses
Fortunately, returning the H.P. Long Pool and Fieldhouse to its original gathering
place for students expressed as a recreation center is not only the “highest and best
use”, it is also the most economical. Given the current (poor) economic conditions
with an enormous amount of deferred maintenance to be addressed on the LSU
campus, an economical solution must be found to restore the H.P. Long Pool and
Fieldhouse. A more expensive solution very likely is not a solution simply because it
cannot be implemented.
ADA, Zoning, Parking and Compliance Issues
As with most other projects, one must consider issues regarding access –
handicapped, pedestrian, vehicular, etc. Given the relatively unconstrained nature of
the building and its relatively low intense proposed use, providing handicapped and
fire code access should be relatively easy to accomplish. There likely will be need to
be some modifications to the existing building “altering” its original structure, but
these should be minimal and not significantly alter the historic fabric. Ramps will
allow access to the facility, and an elevator will be installed on the southwest corner
of the building to accommodate ADA standards. Zoning is a non issue, since the
building is on the LSU campus and the site is not zoned for any specific use. Parking
and vehicle access on the LSU campus appears to be a significant problem, but a
parking garage has been proposed on the west side of campus, which would allow
for more than enough parking for this facility. Environmental issues on-site include
algae in the pool, mildew, lead paint, and asbestos. Lead paint will be removed from
the windows using appropriate lead paint removal techniques. The lead paint will be
removed by a certified individual as dictated by the EPA.
Security and Public Safety Concerns
This recreational facility will primarily be used by full and part time fee paying
students at Louisiana State University. The facility will be staffed by student
employees, just as with the main recreational facility at LSU. Staff will include check-
in attendants, lifeguards, and supervisors. Two lifeguards will be present in the pool
area at all times when the facility is open. Additionally, children’s summer camps will
be permitted to use the facility during the summer months. The facility will be
staffed by LSU student employees during the summer as well, and lifeguards will
ensure safety around the pool area during those camps.
HUEY P. LONG POOL FUNDING SOURCES
1. Costs for Rehabilitation
Total Estimated Cost for Rehabilitation of Huey P. Long Pool and Fieldhouse:
This total is based solely upon a previous estimate for a similar proposed
project (done in 2002) provided to our group by LSU Facilities Management.
Clearly, this is an approximate figure, as it is well outside the scope of this
project to estimate the expense to rehabilitate this facility. The feasibility
study will be critical to deducing a more exact figure for rehabilitation cost.
2. Sources of funds
LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation* $1,000, 000
LSU Foundation $ 1,000,000
LSU Student Body $1,350, 000
LSU Alumni Association** $1,100, 000
Corporate Partner $ 5,650,000
*The LSU Foundation has a $446 Million endowment.
**220, 000 members of the LSU Alumni Association. We’re assuming 25%
participation (55,000) at an average of $20.00/person.
We have identified the need to create a dedicated fund to spearhead the efforts to
obtain a feasibility study. We have identified the following as potential funding
sources as Friends of Huey P. Long Pool to raise approximately $40,000. We have
also recognized Russell Long Mosley as a potential leader of the fundraising
taskforce that will help identify additional funding sources and champion the fund
• Foundation for Historic Louisiana patrons (currently have approximately $25k)
• National Trust for Historic Preservation ($5k)
o Matching grant for feasibility studies
• Long Family ($10k)
Once the feasibility study has been completed we feel it would be economically
responsible of the University to enter into a public-private non-profit agreement with
potential corporations such as: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Pennington and
Ochsner. We have identified these corporations because of their missions to reduce
the risk of obesity-related diseases, increase the state’s health ranking and bring
down the long term cost of healthcare. For this same reason we have also identified
BREC and the YMCA of Baton Rouge as potential partners for summer camps for
school age children to teach them the importance of healthy activity and specifically
to teach them swimming lessons.
As part of the student recreation system we feel it is important for some of the
funding to be generated through the student activity fees. We are proposing to raise
student activity fees by $25 a semester to help pay for renovations and upkeep.
• 27,000 students at $25 a semester = $1,350,000 a year
In addition to the corporate partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, we
are proposing a naming rights drive for classroom spaces and workout rooms. We
feel this will contribute to the sense of community for previous alumni and student
athletes that used the facilities.
• Naming rights to be quantified on a price per square foot basis
Students, Faculty and Faculty spouses and/or partners are not required to pay for
access to the facilities. There are no monthly memberships associated with this
Given the current economic crises and the difficult budget choices that LSU is being
forced to make, we feel the project will best be accomplished by using a variety of
funding sources. As a state institution tax credits were not seen as a potential
funding source for LSU.
Working on this project has been a valuable experience for our group. We have had
the opportunity to speak with many upstanding members of the Baton Rouge
community. We discussed many possible uses for the building, but after speaking
with various community members, including many recent graduates of Louisiana
State University, the solution seems obvious. The pool and fieldhouse offer an ideal
space for a student recreational facility, to be used by fee paying students and
faculty at Louisiana State University. The Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and Pool is
Louisiana State University’s most significant, endangered property and additionally is
one of the most beloved buildings on campus. This facility offers a unique
opportunity to preserve a valuable historic resource and accommodate a need on
the LSU campus.