Rapides Parish Coliseum

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Rapides Parish Coliseum
Rapides Coliseum, The Coliseum
Rapides Coliseum.jpg
Front Entrance of Rapides Coliseum
Location 5600 Coliseum Boulevard
Alexandria, Louisiana 71303
Coordinates 31°17′48″N 92°30′13″W / 31.29667°N 92.50361°W / 31.29667; -92.50361Coordinates: 31°17′48″N 92°30′13″W / 31.29667°N 92.50361°W / 31.29667; -92.50361
Owner Rapides Parish
Operator SMG
Capacity Center-Stage: 10,000
Basketball: 8,900
Concert End-Stage: 8,000
Open Floor: 7,000[1]
Surface Multi-surface
Construction
Opened 1965
Renovated 2015–2017
Reopened 2017
Construction cost $22.9 million (2017 renovation)[2]
Architect

Buddy Tudor, Tudor Construction Company

Bill Tudor, Alliance Design Group (2017 Renovation)
Tenants
Alexandria Warthogs (WPHL) (1998–2000)
Louisiana Rangers (IPFL/NIFL) (2000–2002)

The Rapides Parish Coliseum (often called the Rapides Coliseum, as noted on the sign out front) is a multi-purpose arena located on Louisiana Highway 28 West in Alexandria, Louisiana. The coliseum can seat up to 10,000 [3] people in the 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) building. Additional space is in the smaller Exhibition Hall, also on the property. Built in 1965 by Buddy Tudor's family-owned construction company in Pineville with foreman Pete Honeycutt along with the senior Tudor directing the construction. The dome-topped coliseum has hosted thousands of events, including music concerts, "monster" truck shows, professional wrestling, trade shows and sporting events.

Additional facilities on the grounds include a 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) Exhibition Hall often used for trade shows.

Arena information[edit]

The arena was first constructed in 1964 and completed in 1965. The venue features 4 meeting rooms with over 700 square feet (100 m2) of space, 2 multi-purpose rooms with over 2,100 square feet (200 m2) of space, a catering kitchen, 4 locker rooms, 10 luxury suites, office space, ticket booths, and a merchandise store.[4][5] The coliseum property contains a 2,500 lot parking space.

Anthony S. "Tony" D'Angelo (1917-2012), an Alexandria native, was named in the spring of 1969 as the manager of the Coliseum.[6] After thirty years as an officer in the United States Navy, in which he reached the rank of lieutenant commander, D'Angelo returned home to take over management of the facility[7] and served in that capacity through most of the 1970s. He was then named the Alexandria municipal public works director under then Mayor Carroll E. Lanier, upon the retirement for health reasons of the previous director, Malcolm Hebert.[7][8]

Beginning September 1, 2017, a private firm called SMG will assume management of the Coliseum; the company was actually in place a month earlier in preparation for the transition. SMG has a five-year contract to run the facility. With the Rapides Parish Jury's decision to allow SMG to take over operations for the Coliseum, the officials held a special meeting on August 11, 2017, and voted to dissolve the Coliseum Authority.[9] Rapides Parish officials contend that SMG can offer better incentives to promoters so that a smaller market like Alexandria can land quality entertainment. The company manages eleven facilities in Louisiana, including the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.[10]

2017 Renovations[edit]

In October 2008, a report [1] was produced for the Rapides Parish Police Jury that estimates the total cost of repairs and needed updates to be $10 million. On November 6, 2012, Rapides Parish voters approved a $23 million bond issue back by a $2.5 million property tax for the coliseum.[11] Also approved was a $1 million tax to pay for the coliseum maintenance and operations for a period of 20 years. The $23 million taxes would pay for renovation projects that included an expanded seating capacity, a new 3-story lobby, sky boxes and exhibition hall, improved electrical systems and roofing, new rest rooms, stages, dressing rooms, and a basketball floor, and a rebuilt parking space. The coliseum also features a new center-hung video display.[12] The renovation was designed to give the coliseum a modern appeal and attract larger events for the Rapides Parish area.

Start of construction for the project was delayed due to the Rapides Parish Police Jury's difficulty of obtaining a permit to begin the renovations because of dispute between them and the city of Alexandria over the Rapides Parish Coliseum parking lot issue which was eventually settled.[13] The project officially began in April 2015. Renovation was completed and the coliseum held their grand opening on February 10, 2017.[14]

Seating capacity[edit]

The arena as a concert venue can seat 8,000 for end-stage shows and 10,000 for a center-stage shows. For open floor shows, the arena can seat 7,000. For basketball games, the venue can seat 8,900.

The maximum seating capacity history for the venue has gone as followed:

  • 6,512 (1965–2017)[3]
  • 10,000 (2017–present)[1]

Events[edit]

Sports[edit]

The LSUA Generals Men's and Women's basketball teams played their first ever home game in the coliseum on February 16, 2017, against the St. Thomas Celts. Peak attendance was reached the Men's game with 2,722 fans. This was the coliseum's first event held there since its closure for renovations. The Men's team defeated St. Thomas 80-75 and the Women's team won 80-50.[15][16]

Future Sports[edit]

The coliseum will host the men's and women's Red River Athletic Conference basketball tournament on March 2–4, 2017. This will be the first time the RRAC's tournament since going to a single site format in 2001 is played outside the state of Texas.[17][18]

Former sports[edit]

Past sports teams based at the Rapides Coliseum include the Louisiana Rangers, a member of the IPFL, and the Alexandria Warthogs, a member of the WPHL. The coliseum also has hosted the LHSAA Girls Basketball Championships.

Other events[edit]

The coliseum was home to the annual Rapides Parish Fair every October from 1960 to 2013. In 2014, the fair moved to the LSUA Ag center on U.S. Route 71 just south of Alexandria.

Some of the site's more famous visitors include Lipizzan stallions (1973), Elvis Presley (1977), Holiday on Ice, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1966), Ronald Reagan (1975), George C. Wallace, Jr. (1976).

In 2005, the facility was used as a shelter by the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina and during Hurricane Rita. It was during Rita that it lost power and water for a short period of time.[2]

Recent events staged at the site include the Barnum and Bailey Circus on Dec. 2, 2008, World Wrestling Entertainment in January 2009, and the Gaither Homecoming Tour on March 7, 2009.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rapides Parish Coliseum Seating Map". 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Renovated Rapides Coliseum could open in 2015". 27 April 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Louisiana Sports Venues". 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  4. ^ "RPC Seating & Room Availability". 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  5. ^ "About the Rapides Parish Coliseum". 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  6. ^ The Shreveport Times, April 18, 1969, p. 49.
  7. ^ a b Obituary of Anthony D'Angelo, Alexandria Town Talk, April 22, 2012.
  8. ^ Anthony D'Angelo was married for sixty-three years to the former Agnes Maggio (1926-2017), a native of Natchitoches. The couple had six children. "Agnes Seraphine D'Angelo obituary". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved May 18, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Police Jury approves SMG contract for Rapides Parish Coliseum, lays off 12 employees". 11 August 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  10. ^ Jeff Matthews (August 11, 2017). "Here's why the Police Jury is turning to a private company to manage the Coliseum". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved August 12, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Voters approve tax to renovate Rapides Coliseum". 7 November 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ "RAPIDES PARISH COLISEUM ADDS NEW NEVCO EQUIPMENT AS PART OF RENOVATION PROJECT". 4 January 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Debate continues between the parish and the city over coliseum parking lot". 11 March 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Rapides Parish Coliseum renovations unveiled". 10 February 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  15. ^ "No. 1 Generals survive St. Thomas". 17 February 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  16. ^ "LSUA women dominate St. Thomas for much-needed win". 17 February 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  17. ^ "UPDATES ON THE RAPIDES PARISH COLISEUM RENOVATIONS". 21 December 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  18. ^ "RRAC basketball tournaments moving to Alexandria". 5 January 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017.