Memorial Stadium Studied

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium needs $42 million worth of renovations.

At least that's what a recent study requested by the state funds.

But not only that, the study said a "new stadium" would be a better move cost-wise.

So what does that mean for the future of Memorial Stadium?

It has been twenty years or more since those magical Saturday afternoons when football packed them in at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Nowadays, the big three don't play there anymore and not even the Capital City Classic draws what it used to.

"Just from a layman's eye, the stadium is not in the best condition," said Troy Stovall, vice-president of JSU Finance and Administration.

Stovall said JSU will play at Memorial Stadium through the 2008 season, but it also wants a stadium that attracts fans, not turns them away.

"If someone could show us how to make Memorial Stadium become that, I'd think we'd listen to that," Stovall said.

Their contract with the stadium commission runs out June 30 when the commission dissolves.

The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration will take over. Reports are DFA wants to bring more than football to the stadium.

One idea is the stadium would be torn down and the stadium property used for additional parking for University Medical Center. Jackson State would get its own on campus facility, but neither Jackson State nor UMC would confirm that's in the works.

The University Medical Center issued a statement:

"Our priority is to provide safe and adequate parking for our employees, students, and visitors. We have leased 2,200 parking spaces at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. This is critical for the operation of the Medical Center. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Jackson State University and now the Department of Finance and Administration."

"A new stadium has a more lifetime effect, has a 40 year effect and the question we've always asked and I don't think it's a hidden question is there a higher and better use for that site," said Stovall.

The Department of Finance and Administration says it has identified some short-term repairs including renovating the press box, scoreboard and restrooms. It is also finalizing new policies on security and traffic control.

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