'Embarrassing' coliseum needs renovations - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

'Embarrassing' coliseum needs renovations

Posted: Updated:
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The State of Mississippi has certainly gotten plenty of use out of the Mississippi Coliseum on the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in the 51 years it's been standing. But lately, with gaping holes in the walls, exposed wiring, ancient concession stands, and a myriad of other problems, it's been an embarrassment for Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith.

The Mississippi High School Athletic Association just played eight days of basketball games at the Coliseum.

"To come to the Coliseum has always been a big thing, the big house, but it's in desperate need of repair," says MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton. "We're always looking at other venues for all of our events, we will do the same thing here in basketball."

"It's just to that breaking point that people are complaining," Hyde-Smith says.

The sound system is inadequate; schools complain they can't hear students names clearly over the speakers during graduations. Hyde-Smith says visitors in wheelchairs have to wait for an hour or more to get on the Coliseum's only elevator. She wants three more elevators and possibly some escalators installed.

Her $47.3 million plan to renovate the Coliseum really just takes care of the necessities, she says. It includes adding 500 more seats, a club level overlooking the arena, new stairways, bathrooms, dressing rooms and a new stage.

A bill addressing the needs has already died in the legislature, but Hyde-Smith hopes it can be resurrected in conference. She's hoping to fund the renovations through one $24 million bond issue this session and the rest during the next session.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow