Is This Lubbock’s Plan for Life After the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum?
The citizens of Lubbock will head to the polls on May 5th to vote for or against abandoning the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum and Auditorium. If the citizens vote to abandon the land and structures, they will eventually be handed over to Texas Tech University.
Some voters have raised questions as to when the buildings would be abandoned and what would happen to events that currently happen at the Coliseum. In particular, voters in Lubbock are concerned about the ABC Rodeo which is entering its 76th year. The Lubbock City Council hasn't clarified those plans yet, but on KFYO News Tuesday, we may have learned at least a little more.
Eddie McBride, President of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, appeared on KFYO Mornings with Dave King and Matt Martin and brought up the Chamber's support of abandoning the Coliseum and Auditorium.
McBride told Matt Martin that the new Buddy Holly Hall, which is currently under construction, would replace the Auditorium.
As for a replacement for the Coliseum, McBride told KFYO that conversations are happening to replace the building and that it's possible a private/public partnership could emerge to build a new arena or expo center.
McBride told guest host Matt Crow that the Chamber of Commerce did a feasibility study after Imagine Lubbock Together launched into how much a new arena would cost. McBride told KFYO that the study looked how much a 3,500-5,500 seat "dirt floor arena" would cost. McBride says the cost of a new arena at that time would have cost anywhere from $15-$60 million dollars depending on the size of the building, floor, seats, and other amenities. He said that it would not be called a dirt floor arena due to other events that could be hosted inside.
You can watch the conversation regarding the Coliseum below. The conversation begins around the 7:33 mark.
So, is this the plan for life after the Coliseum? A new arena or expo center that seats up to 5,500 people? A few things to consider.
First, who exactly is going to pay for this? McBride mentioned a public/private partnership, but what does that look like? Will this be a City or County tax payer-funded venue?
Second, can we trust the public side of the partnership to maintain the building? Let's not forget the lack of maintenance on the buildings that the Lubbock City Council wants citizens to vote to abandon.
Third, the real cost. Construction costs have increased since Imagine Lubbock Together and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce did this study into a new arena. The Coliseum currently seats 8,300 people. If an arena costs $60 million at the time of the study and only seats 5,500 people, how much would an arena with all the great amenities cost that would seat closer to 8,000-10,000 people?
Many questions still remain for the Lubbock City Council and other leaders to answer. What comes next, and an explanation of a timeline, are pieces of information that voters should know before they head to the polls on May 5.
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