Coliseum Commissioners Look To Neighbors For Expansion Ideas

A series of road trips could play a big part in figuring out the coast convention center's new look. On Monday, the coliseum director and commissioners toured the convention center in Mobile , which is the first of several cities the group plans to visit.

With high ceilings and walls made of glass, it didn't take long for the group to figure out what they liked about the Mobile facility.

"I'm really impressed. I really am," said commissioner William Mitchell. "I like the height. I like the glass. It's probably a problem keeping it clean."

During the room by room tour, Mobile officials pointed out their facility's assets, like the waterfront view, and its drawbacks, such as a ballroom that is too small.

Walter Blessey, another commissioner, said "This type of tour is very beneficial to the commissioners to help them decide what extra space they might need for storage. We've learned the experience of the facility here, the plant manager, and what he would like to have if he had a wish list."

As they got a feel for this convention center, the group began to see the possibilities for the one back home. Although Biloxi and Mobile are competitors, no one seemed to mind sharing industry tips.

"It's a billion dollar industry, so we're all out to help one another," said Coliseum Director Bill Holmes. "It's about making the best facility you can for the dollars you have."

Coliseum officials will also visit convention centers in New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, Baton Rouge, and West Palm Beach. Architects tell us a final design should be ready in about six months.