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Garrett Coliseum Renovation & Expansion

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Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks wants to renovate Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery. According to Sparks, architects and engineers began drawing proposals to modernize the 1950s-era coliseum more than a year ago. The coliseum building, with its arching exterior support wings, was ultra modern when it was constructed, but Sparks said bathrooms are old and inadequate, seating is old, the electrical system needs upgrading and there is no central heating and cooling.

Decatur Daily article

The coliseum website lists a seating capacity of 13,500, with 31,000 sq. ft. of space. When configured for the Montgomery Bears arena football team, the capacity is 8,528.

I hope Sparks can get this done. The coliseum is definitely showing its age and Montgomery could use more quality event space.

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I would agree that rehad is the first thing to consider, but one must also consider the cost vs a new (perhaps downtow) facility. This may be the best answer tho as the South Ala Fair still needs a place to happen. That place was this side of giant cowbarn in the seventies before anyone else outside of the left and right coasts had anything its size. I hope it can be saved and rehabbed for a good price. The only issue being that the hotels are not nearby.

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Since it's part of the fair and farmer's market complex, my money would be on Sparks getting it renovated. Good point about a downtown arena. Maybe one could be built on the surface lots east of Riverwalk Stadium or over near Paterson Field.

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Since it's part of the fair and farmer's market complex, my money would be on Sparks getting it renovated. Good point about a downtown arena. Maybe one could be built on the surface lots east of Riverwalk Stadium or over near Paterson Field.

Hate to say it but it looks like Patterson Field would be an excellent location for an indoor arena. Saw my first semi-pro baselball game there,(Rebels) so I am a little soft on the old girl. If the Coliseum were to be renovated, it would probably one of the few of that size ever to have been done so and not torn down to raise another for the same purpose.

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WSFA-TV has a video with renderings of the proposed changes to Garrett Coliseum. It looks like a major renovation and expansion.

Video link on this page: Garrett Coliseum Set for Renovation

Excellent rendering. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a revival of the old days when there were many ag, rodeo, fair and concerts at Garrett Col. I assume the new building will be an exhibition hall and hopefully the original (which was first envisioned by a school girl who said it should look like a turtle) will be up to snuff also. The old seating needs serious upgrading as well as a/c, restrooms, lockers, offices etc

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Thanks for the link to the rendering.

I saw my first major concert of my life at Garrett. It was Kenny Roger's Gambler tour. He did it in the round. Dottie West was there too singing some duets w/him.

I still have a button from that night that states: I spent the night w/Kenny Rogers. All my friends get a kick out of that one since I don't like country music at all anymore....well at least the new stuff....the old classic stuff I still enjoy.

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Garrett Coliseum has been a big barn for a long time. As a child I saw Ringling Bros Circus, the Lipitzaner Stallions, and the Southeastern Rodeo there, but the best times were the WBAM Shows with all the up-and-coming new groups like the Who, the Rolling Stones, (Little)Stevie Wonder, and Herman's Hermits. Some really great shows, usually with six or more acts for about $6.oo a ticket.

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I assume the new building will be an exhibition hall and hopefully the original (which was first envisioned by a school girl who said it should look like a turtle) will be up to snuff also.

Interesting, never heard that about the girl and the turtle. It does kind of make sense now that you mention it.

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Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks wants the state Legislature to either give him more funding for Garrett Coliseum or allow him to create his own stream of revenue to make improvements to the facility. Legislators say it's unlikely that any additional funding will be appropriated.

Hopefully the legislature will give Sparks the authority to generate new revenue so he can move forward with renovations and additions.

Montgomery Advertiser: Garrett Coliseum 'bleeding to death'

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Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks is committed to renovating Garrett Coliseum, which could cost $85 million to $100 million. A master plan includes conceptual drawings and a list of needed repairs and improvements, which range from a new roof, plumbing and electrical systems to upgrades for disabled visitors. The first construction phase would include a new multipurpose event arena, with a seating capacity of 3,300, room for 260 trade show booths and a 160-ft by 280-ft floor. Sparks is trying to find funding sources for the project.

Construction of the Coliseum began in 1949, and the first events were held in the building in 1951.

Sparks campaigns for Garrett Coliseum upgrade

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Cell phone camera shots - construction began on the then ultramodern Garrett Coliseum in 1949.

Garrett001.jpg

Garrett002.jpg

Similar architecture in a Selma armory from the same period. I wonder if the same architect was involved...

Selma_armory1.jpg

Selma_armory2.jpg

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Hey, for 1949, it's not a bad looking building. Still ugly though...

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More details of the proposed expansion of the coliseum complex...

Garrett_2.jpg

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As Garrett Coliseum continues to deteriorate, members of the Alabama Agricultural Center Board have lobbied unsuccessfully for federal stimulus money for repairs and upgrades. With the help of the Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission the board plans to pursue grant opportunities. The board is also looking at a combination of city, county and state funding.

Garrett Coliseum in dire need of repair

Photo gallery

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The legislature passed a bill creating the Garrett Coliseum Redevelopment Corp., which would allow a public-private partner­ship to sell bonds to support redevelopment of the coliseum. The Corp. must have a plan in place by the end of fiscal year 2012 or all state funding may be cut off.

Legislature passes bill that would allow partnership to work to redevelop Garrett Coliseum

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