Coliseum Convention Center To Study Expansion Options

The Mid-South Recreation Company has a booth at the 73rd Mississippi Association of Supervisors convention to primarily sell playground equipment.

The Memphis based vendor arrived at the Coliseum Convention Center a day early. John Jones said he was impressed with his temporary working environment.

"A big facility like this is very nice," Jones said. "You have plenty of room for everybody to roam around and to meet other people. And it makes it easier than if you have tight quarters."

Buster Hamm is president of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors. He said this is the seventh time in 11 years that the supervisors convention has come back to this facility.

The large meeting rooms in one location make it easier on delegates.

"The people don't have to travel from different hotels to different places to have meetings," Hamm said. "You do have a wonderful convention center here."

This week it's a very full convention center, because right next to the supervisors meeting is the Mississippi Arts Fair for the Handicapped. The two events are using every inch of convention center meeting space.

"We need to grow," Coliseum Director Bill Holmes said. "And we need to constantly look at expanding our facilities to meet future needs."

Holmes contends that thousands of new hotel rooms have made the convention center more valuable than ever. He believes the convention center study will prove that expanding the 180,000 square foot facility will benefit everybody.

"It's going to cause a great economic impact to this community," Holmes said. "It will drive the airport. It will drive the restaurant business. It's just endless to what economic impact conventions and meetings will do in a destination such as ours."

The last convention center expansion cost $10 million. It was paid for with 1 percent of Harrison County's hotel motel tax.

The study that will be done this summer is supposed to determine how large, and how expensive another addition may cost.