Rapides Coliseum Plans Reviewed

Alliance Design Group has been working for nearly a year to make up for lost time on the Rapides Parish Coliseum renovation project.

Photo: Facebook.com/pages/Rapides-Parish-Coliseum

The Town Talk reports (http://townta.lk/1oej494 ) Alliance is in the review process with the state Fire Marshal’s Office and soon will submit plans to the city of Alexandria. Once permitting is finished, the Rapides Parish Police Jury can advertise for bids from contractors, a process that should take 30 to 45 days.

“Our aggressive (opening) date is early fall 2015,” said Alliance principal Bill Tudor. “A more conservative date would be December 2015.”

Voters approved a $23 million bond issue _ backed by a 2.5-mill property tax _ in November 2012 to build what should look and feel like a new arena on the bones of the current Coliseum. Voters also passed a 1-mill tax to fund Coliseum operations over the next 20 years.

Alliance took over the project in August after the firm previously chosen by the Police Jury ran into budgetary problems. Tudor and Alliance previously had spent months working on a design for a renovated Coliseum, which became the basis for the project’s $23 million budget.

The Alliance design features:

_ Increased seating capacity.

_ Increased parking.

_ An overhaul of the arena’s outdated technology.

_ Additional locker room facilities. The current Coliseum has two rooms that have been used as locker rooms or dressing rooms in the past. The new designs has four team locker rooms, a locker room for officials and a VIP dressing room for performers.

_ Improved restrooms.

_ Improved concessions.

_ Increased meeting room and storage space, and a new catering kitchen.

_ Redesigned ag arena and Exhibition Hall.

The ag arena will be a multi-purpose, open-air building that can be used for events or for additional parking. The Exhibition Hall will have 10,000 square feet of additional space added.

The goal is to update the aging Coliseum so it can compete with more modern arenas in other markets in the region. The renovation project was sold to the public as a way to attract big-name entertainment to Alexandria, enhancing quality of life and drawing more out-of-town visitors.