Rebels aim to improve facilities Ole Miss begins $150 million drive to build new arena, other upgrades

Published 11:42 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OXFORD — Ole Miss has announced plans to raise $150 million to build a new on-campus basketball arena and upgrade the football stadium.

The first phase of the program would build a 10,000-seat basketball arena to replace Tad Smith Coliseum, a cramped facility that was built in 1966 and holds slightly more than 9,000 fans. It would also include renovating the concourse and premium seating in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The second phase of the program would bowl in the north end zone of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, raising the capacity from about 62,000 seats to more than 70,000.

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Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone said he hoped the basketball arena would be completed in time for the 2015-16 season. Boone said the proposed design of the basketball facility was a conglomeration of ideas from several recently built arenas — including at Auburn and Missouri State.

“We’re really being aggressive with this campaign,” Boone said. “This covers a lot of the goals that we think we need to do to continue to compete in the SEC. It should be great for our fans, too. It’ll be a great place to go as a family and it really brings our athletic facilities together.”

Ole Miss plans to raise $100 million through “capital gift agreements” related to premium seating at football, basketball and baseball games. Another $50 million would be raised through other donations and corporate sponsorships.