ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana — At 50 years old, the time has come for Rapides Parish Coliseum to get the new look it has been waiting for.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held Monday morning inside the Coliseum in honor of the $22.9 million renovation project. The Coliseum, which was been closed for more than a year, is expected to reopen in about 20 months.
"I am so elated I don't know what to do," said Police Juror Ollie Overton, who was president of the Police Jury when voters passed a tax in November 2012 to fund the renovation.
Coliseum Authority Chairman Jimbo Thiels said the road to the renovation project "was an uphill battle with a short stick for a long time, but it's here now, and we're going to make the best of it."
The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/1DGxaGg) reports that in August 2013, the jury ended its contract with its original architectural firm, Barron, Heinberg & Brocato after the company claimed it could not complete the project within the budget. The jury later sued the firm and contracted with Alliance Design Group.
Attendees at the ceremony expressed optimism about the project.
"I'm proud for Central Louisiana that something is finally happening that's going to enhance tourism and economic development for our area," said Police Juror Scott Perry.
Sheriff William Earl Hilton said the renovation will make Alexandria competitive with other cities for big events.
Robert Ratcliff of Ratcliff Construction Co., lead contractor for the projector, said, "This building is something that's going to be especially prideful for me in that we're going to breathe another 50 years of life into this building."
Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com
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