JSU Announces $200 Million Dome

JSU Vice President Michael Thomas and football coach Rick Comegy spoke publicly for the first time Friday about the Tigers’ plan for an on-campus dome stadium.

JSU Vice President Michael Thomas and football coach Rick Comegy spoke publicly for the first time Friday about the Tigers’ plan for an on-campus dome stadium. Photo by Jacob Fuller.

Reader poll

Would the JSU domed stadium be good for Jackson?

  • Yes 36%
  • No 45%
  • Undecided 18%

11 total votes.

Jackson State University officials spoke publicly about a plan to build a state-of-the-art domed football stadium for the first time this morning.

Vice President of Business and Finance Michael Thomas told the audience at Koinonia Coffee House's Friday Forum that the 50,000-seat stadium will cost about $200 million to build.

Thomas said JSU will try to get as much financial help from the state as it can for the construction of the stadium. House Bill 1589, which would allow the state to issue up to $75 million in general obligation bonds to help fund the stadium, is currently in the Ways and Means committee.

"There's going to be some private dollars, there's going to be some public dollars, and some dollars are going to be funded through the anticipated revenue from the project," Thomas said.

Some of the anticipated revenue includes selling the stadium's naming rights, as well as luxury boxes within the stadium.

JSU has identified four possible sites for a location, Thomas said. The university owns about 60 percent of the land on one of the proposed sites, 80 percent on two of the sites and 100 percent of the land on one possible site.

JSU football coach Rick Comegy said the stadium could give the Tigers a big recruiting edge in the SWAC.

"Young people today enjoy nice facilities," Comegy said. "I think (the dome) is going to make a great impact on our program when kids come up and visit and see the modern stadium and the technology that hopefully will be in there."

Apart from wanting a stadium on campus, JSU is also feeling pressure to get out of the university's current football home, Veterans Memorial Stadium. That stadium, first opened in 1950, sits in the middle of the strip of land along Woodrow Wilson Avenue that several groups hope to transform into a health-care corridor.

The corridor would include a collection of medical and other health-related services, including retailers and manufacturers stretching from Interstate 55 to Interstate 220. The plans include medical developments on the land where Veterans Memorial Stadium sits today.

The university will use the facility for football and basketball games, concerts and other school and non-school-related functions. Thomas said activities will take place in the stadium about 200 days per year.

Construction will include a parking lot for tailgating close to the stadium, Thomas said. JSU is exploring the possibility of building an adjoining parking garage.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that JSU would use money from selling Veterans Memorial to fund the new stadium. Under 2011 House Bill 1158, once JSU begins playing home football games in another venue, ownership of Veterans Memorial Stadium will transfer from JSU to UMMC. Therefore, JSU will not have the option to sell Veterans Memorial or the surrounding land. The JFP apologizes for the error,

Comments

Jroc 1 year, 6 months ago

Sounds great! However, (w/all due respect) no professional baseball or football teams have built domes it what I believe to be decades. Domes damage players - along w/ a plethora of other complications. These days if a club chooses a domed stadium, it is done so as a retractable roof / natural grass facility. It's great to receive a "new" stadium; but not if it takes us back to the early 80's - technologically.

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KingoftheTownies 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't think there is one accurate statement in this entire paragraph.

1

mortimernova 1 year, 6 months ago

The Tampa Bay Rays have a non-retractable dome stadium. People generally complain about having gone to a handful of games there, I don't see the big deal with it.

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Duan 1 year, 6 months ago

@ Jroc - you lost me? Indianapolis, Arizona, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota are all enclosed domed facilities tnat do not have retractable roofs. Arizona slides their field in and out. But with the proper turf selection - I do not think that will be an issue.

Nice to see Mississippi move into the 21st century and a MUlti-use facility for the metro area. Great move!

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robbier 1 year, 6 months ago

Dallas Cowboys stadium absolutely has a retractable roof. Indy, Arizona, and Detroit do not.

Minnesota plays in the Metrodome which opened in the early 80s so it doesn't apply to the criteria currently being discussed.

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Duan 1 year, 6 months ago

Minnesota has a new dome stadium in the works, and it will not be retractable.

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robbier 1 year, 6 months ago

Duan, U of Minnesota's stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, opened in 2009.

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swalker 1 year, 6 months ago

I wonder where is this land they are talking about for the proposed site? But land that I think will be great for it is right there on Terry Rd. (Between DT & JSU), Any spot located at the intersection of I-220 & 1-20 (on the east or west) or on Lakeland Dr. (where they wanted to build the MS Tax Commission Office)

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bubbat 1 year, 6 months ago

Is the State going to give Miss State, Ole Miss and Southern $75 million too?

1

BlackThoughts925 1 year, 6 months ago

This would be a complete waste of money on behalf of the State and the University

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swacbob 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes, this will be great for Jackson on two fronts, JSU gets its stadium and the health corridor grows!

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mnofmh 1 year, 6 months ago

Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium) and Arizona (University of Phoenix Stadium) both have retractable roofs. Detroit (Ford Field) has a fixed roof. Minnesota's new stadium is still in the design phase. Ownership was hoping for a retractable roof but it doesn't appear the budget will allow it, so it looks like they're heading toward a fixed roof.

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Jroc 1 year, 6 months ago

Duan: do the knowledge. Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium) retractable roof. Dallas (Cowboy Stadium) retractable roof. Arizona Cardinalds (University of Phoenix Stadium) retractable field.

Why would we mention Minnessota or Detroit. Their climates require such facilities. If Green Bay weren't housed in the NFLs most hallowed facility they would dome also. However, Lambeau "Packer" field has steel coils build underground to keep the field thawed.

PS The retractable grass in Arizona is designed as a hybrid that needs a certain amount of sunlight. No one with a warm climate would build a dome in this era.

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tommyjoel 1 year, 6 months ago

Jroc, Arizona has a retractable roof and a moveable field.

A fixed dome is not a bad idea if they can create a reasonable layout for basketball as well. The Carrier Dome should provide a solid blueprint. There are trade-offs to a dome, but for a college to get multiple uses - including potentially lucrative concert and convention revenue - it can be worth it.

And your "Domes damage players" argument is incredibly dated. Modern artificial turf is light years ahead of the glorified carpet used through the 90s.

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BlackThoughts925 1 year, 6 months ago

This is the absolute worse idea anyone in Mississippi has ever had!!! What is the need of a $200 million dome for a small town college team? And why would the State invest $75 million in this when you have concert venues like The Coliseum, the Convention Center, Thalia Mara Hall, and the new Jackson State gym? This is a waste of tax payer dollars and a main reason why Mississippi will remain behind. Jackson State can barely fill up Veterans Memorial Stadium!!!

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rltaylor28 1 year, 6 months ago

The Super Dome where the Super Bowl was played this year is a dome in the deep south. Georgia Dome, is fine, it is just that the owner want a dome with retractable roof.

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rltaylor28 1 year, 6 months ago

I think this is great and I truly believe we can make it happen.

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rltaylor28 1 year, 6 months ago

The idea location is near the Convention center. Also, Jackson need to get a few more hotels downtown, and Jackson can then host a lot of major events.

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SPIDER 1 year, 6 months ago

Three cheers!!!- JSU, City of Jackson and State of MS let us move forward with this.

Hey we might just get the N.O. Saints to come and enjoy our new closed roof Doom, lol give them a break of playing in their Super Dome. What you think pre season ah?

This is a positive not only for Jackson but also our neighboring cities... come on guys lets get this snow ball rolling.

There are many sporting events, social and business events that could be hosted there humm... indoor national track meets, concerts, HS, College, Pro football, Pro motocross, and much more.

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Jsutiger 1 year, 6 months ago

Great news for Jsu. As for those who mentioned tax payers money, I'm a working student who attends Jsu so I would love to see my tax money being put on my school. Also for the guy who asked if Msu and Ole Miss would get $75 million, did Jsu receive money in the 60's when your SEC received money.(hint... Ayers Case). And lastly, as far as education.. Jsu ranked # 47 in the best schools in America... Yale is #41 & John Hopkins is #46... so our educators are doing a great job... Just to mention Msu, UM and Usm ranked in the bottom hundreds. So Jsu can upgrade just as they please.

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widespread 1 year, 6 months ago

You're kidding, right? Who would rank JSU above Ole Miss, MSU and USM? And who would rank them one notch below Johns Hopkins? I'd really like to know.

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Jroc 1 year, 6 months ago

According to foxnews in Feb. 2012: modern artificial turf currently accounts for 40% more injuries than natural grass. There is no turf light years advanced.

The carrier dome is where Syracuse plays. A school in upstate New York (not-so-great weather), that is as much a basketball institution as a Duke or Kentucky. Of course, their alumni would opt for a dome.

As for the gentleman who named Georgia and Superdomes... Listen up: they are old, and built during a different era.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/30/football-knee-injuries-likelier-on-artificial-turf-than-grass/

PS Please stop using outdated stadiums and extremely cold climate facilities as examples.

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chillin662 1 year, 6 months ago

I would love for JSU to get any type of new stadium because it's good for the SWAC and HBCU football in general. Alabama State set the bar with their new stadium so now everyone else who is looking to get one or upgrade has to compete with them.

Someone mentioned MSU, Ole Miss and USM. Anyone from Mississippi knows that UM and MSU alums run the legislature down in Jackson so anytime they need money for anything they will get it while neglecting the HBCU's.

Valley is STILLL waiting on our new football stadium and basketball arena we were promised in the early 2000's. The ONLY reason why we got a 1/2 upgrade is because the visitors side was deemed unsafe.

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bubbat 1 year, 6 months ago

When has the State given MSU,Ole Miss or Southern $75million for their stadiums?

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robbier 1 year, 6 months ago

MVSU didn't even have enough scholarship players for the NCAA to sanction their game against MSU. The payday from MSU (~300k) is more than Valley's entire athletic budget.

The last thing the Legislature needs to be doing in this economic period is appropriating money to a football stadium for Valley. Total waste.

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mnofmh 1 year, 6 months ago

Someone mentioned MSU, Ole Miss and USM. Anyone from Mississippi knows that UM and MSU alums run the legislature down in Jackson so anytime they need money for anything they will get it while neglecting the HBCU's.

Not true. UM and MSU alumni put their money where their mouth is when they want to build new athletic facilities. I wish we did the same with our HBCUs.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 6 months ago

The quotes below are from an article in JFP from May of last year talking about UMC's expansion. Everyone (except UMC) seems to think that UMC needs the stadium property. Based on the quotes below, UMC has ALL the property it needs to do what it wants to do. Soooo, JSU needs to improve and upgrade what it has. Later for the rest of the rhetoric!

"Woodrow Wilson Avenue delineates the southern border of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's 164-acre campus, and UMMC has begun internal expansion. Dr. David Powe, associate vice chancellor for administrative affairs and UMMC's chief administrative officer, said there is no reason for the center to build beyond its property.

"We are only at 33-percent capacity here, so we have 66 percent of growth capacity here if we use all the space," Powe said. "Of course, we don't want to use all the space, because we want to keep a lot of the green space."

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mnofmh 1 year, 6 months ago

From the same article....

UMMC, the state's only medical research facility, will soon begin construction of an eight-story facility that will be the first piece of a research park. The park will eventually extend to the former farmers market area on Woodrow Wilson Avenue, which UMMC recently began renovating.

The medical center is also in the process of renovating the former Schimmel's Restaurant building on North State Street across from the UMMC campus. Once it is ready, the children's development center and clinic will move there from its current location in the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.

Looks like UMC was already looking beyond its borders at the time the article was written. The need for the property may not be immediate, but the stadium is definitely in UMC's growth path. Plus, if I were UMC, I wouldn't want to get into a pissing match with my primary parking lot manager until it's absolutely necessary.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 6 months ago

Again, YOU and OTHERS are seemingly speaking for UMC. If they are currently utilizing less than half of their ACTUAL property, a growth path means nothing. 20-30 years down the road is not NOW. It's nice to WISH for things but success and failure often lies within the realms of reality. I choose to stay there. The only people who think that a $200 million dollar football/multi-purpose facility is a good idea are those who don't have any money. Just saying......

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mnofmh 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm not speaking for UMC. I just pointed out that they've already hopped across State street.

By the way, I think the $200 mm dome is so far from being based in reality that it's hard to believe it has been offered up as a serious solution.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 6 months ago

mnofmh we agree on the reality part. You know though that the Texaco property is owned by Millsaps and they didn't renew the lease because of their expansion plans.

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mnofmh 1 year, 6 months ago

I knew Texaco was on Millsaps' property, but that's south of Woodrow Wilson, which, as Dr. Powe stated, is the southern boundary of UMC. The farmers market property and Schimmels are North of Woodrow Wilson.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 6 months ago

Just listened to JSU's big announcement regarding the 'Domed Stadium' as part of the President's Spring address. They showed some nice renderings and dropped some names of architects working on the project as well as the proposed management company for the facility but NO DETAILS ABOUT THE MONEY. It was said that they had 13 different financing options but NONE of them were detailed. It was said that the MS House of Representatives had passed the bond bill for the $75 million dollars and that they were awaiting the Senate to act. I went to the Legislature's website and looked for the bill status for House Bill 1589 (the bond bill for the $75 million) and it was noted that it was referred to the Ways and Means Committee on 2/1. No additional information beyond that. Perhaps it hasn't been updated on the site but I doubt it. Come on my 'dear old college home'. You have to come better than this!!!

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mnofmh 1 year, 6 months ago

It's really sad and disappointing. They should propose a plan that's actually feasible, with concrete ideas for funding. Until they do that, the new stadium will remain a dream.

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darryl 1 year, 6 months ago

HB 1589 died in committee. JSU is going to have to raise the money privately to build this...or any other, more reasonable structure.

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JLucas 1 year, 6 months ago

Not to mention that their timeframe was entirely unrealistic. Three years is ambitious for a project of this magnitude, considering they haven't yet acquired one single acre of the land needed for the stadium. That process alone will take at least 3 years, and that is very optimistic (think Byram-Clinton corridor). My guess is that it will probably take 5 to 7 years before the actual stadium could be built. Hopefully by then they will have worked out the funding.

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Knowledge06 1 year, 6 months ago

Commission those same architects and consultants to do a rendering of Memorial Stadium with the necessary improvements and upgrades (press box, new seating, luxury suites) and put a realistic price tag with that. I would wholeheartedly financially support that because it actually makes sense!!!

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