OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- The University of Mississippi has announced
plans to raise $150 million to build a new on-campus basketball
arena and upgrade the football stadium.
The first phase of the program would build a 10,000-seat basketball arena to replace Tad Smith Coliseum, a cramped facility that was built in 1966 and holds slightly more than 9,000 fans. It would also include renovating the concourse and premium seating in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The second phase of the program would bowl in the north end zone of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, raising the capacity from about 2,000
seats to more than 70,000. Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone said he hoped the basketball arena would be completed in time for the 2015-16 season.
Boone said the proposed design of the basketball facility was a
conglomeration of ideas from several recently built arenas -- including at Auburn and Missouri State.
"We're really being aggressive with this campaign," Boone said. "This covers a lot of the goals that we think we need to do to continue to compete in the SEC. It should be great for our fans, too. It'll be a great place to go as a family and it really brings our athletic facilities together."
Ole Miss plans to raise $100 million through "capital gift agreements" related to premium seating at football, basketball and baseball games. Another $50 million would be raised through other donations and corporate sponsorships.