Coliseum preparing for an unusually busy summer

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The fair has packed up and rolled out of Biloxi. But just because the Coliseum parking lot is empty doesn't mean it will stay that way for long. To say that the Coliseum is going to have a busy summer is a bit of an understatement. Groups, meetings, and events are scheduled to fill the facilities, sometimes even overlapping their stay.

It's typical for one of the coast's biggest convention spaces to see a peak in activity over the summer. But Executive Director Bill Holmes said this time is different.

"This June is very unusual in that we have something scheduled in the facilities every day," said Holmes.

He means all seven days of the week, some days even see multiple events within the Coliseum walls.

Holmes says that's exactly why the Coliseum was built. He credits the recent increase in business to the public vote back in 2004 to expand the facilities.

"I'm very proud that the people saw if they did the expansion and they did the renovation that we would do the job right. It's been done right, and now the people are coming," said Holmes.

Now, the 400,000 square feet of meeting space is being used to its potential. In just the next week alone, the Coliseum will see three groups move in and out, totaling more than 20,000 people. All of that traffic takes a lot of planning.

"The meetings, the scheduling of who's moving in, when they're moving in. All of this is done at least biweekly," said Holmes.

It's all accomplished with a very small staff. In fact, only 35 are employed with the Coliseum itself, which means extra help is brought in for months like this. Devon Tubbs is one of those hired through a third party to help with cleanup and maintenance.

"We've just done a lot of set up for all the events going on. We've had to move the stage and reset it up. We've had to stack chairs, unstack chairs," said Tubbs.

Holmes said those small steps are what make the Coliseum such a success.

"It's all about attention to detail. That's what makes us different," said Holmes.

Some of the current and upcoming events include a church summer retreat with 1,500 youth, a Convention for Mississippi Supervisors, and Scrapin' the Coast this weekend.

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