JACKSON, Miss.—Jackson State University has unrolled plans for a proposed 50,000 seat, dome stadium they want to build in the next few years.
JSU spokesman and director of the proposed project David Hoard spoke on SuperTalk Mississippi’s “Head to Head” Wednesday about the plans.
“It’s an opportunity to build now for the future and take advantage of some great opportunities,” said Hoard.
The plans have caused some eyebrows to be raised with the number of seats being planned at 50,000 along with the $200 million price tag to go along with it.
As far as funding, Hoard said they would be looking to the state to hopefully fund almost 40% of it.
“We are asking the state for a contribution of $75 million,” he said.
That $75 million is what has some people in the state against the structure citing Mississippi can’t afford to gift that amount in a stagnant economy.
News Mississippi posed the question on Facebook as to whether one would be for or against such a structure. Not one person commented with the affirmative for wanting their taxes to be spent on such a project.
“It’s relative, a $200 million stadium, compared to Jerry Jones and $1 billion stadium,” said Hoard.
The Dallas Cowboys were named the Forbes list #1 valuated sports franchise in the entire nation at $1.85 billion dollars and drew an average of over 88,000 fans for every home game in 2012.
JSU is apart of the SWAC conference and averaged 14,000 fans in attendance for their home games in 2012 and thus the discrepancy between a team that could constitute the need for a 50,0000 seat, domed stadium on campus.
Another reason Hoard pointed towards the large capacity and dome was to draw in national concerts and artist on the other days that JSU is isn’t the dome. He said they had been in talks with several professional teams in the NFL about exhibition games and such. On average he said the basketball and football teams combined would use it around 45 days/nights per year.
The economic impact from the extra events and the venue would be a plus for the area according to Hoard.
The big question, among others, is whether or not the state is going to give JSU $75 million of taxpayer money to fund the project or not. At this point that is still up in the air, but Hoard said even without it, the project wouldn’t fail.
“We are very confident this project is going to move forward.”
He did say that they were heavily depending on that money to move their three-year timeline forward but it wasn’t entirely necessary.
Mississippi Veteran's Memorial Stadium where JSU currently plays their football games would be given back to the state and the University of Mississippi Medical Center is in talks to buy the area and would expand their medical park in downtown Jackson according to Hoard.
Jackson State University plans to grow their enrollment to around 16,000 in the coming years.