The Pete Mathews Coliseum now offers a new environment for visitors and fans alike after a $2.1 million renovation.
Featuring seating with added comfort and new flooring, the Coliseum will now be “one of the top venues in our conference,” and one of the “newest arenas in the league,” according to Interim Athletic Director at JSU Greg Seitz.
The project—which began on May 7 and lasted through September 10-—was funded through capital project bonds. The money from the bonds can only be used to improve capital, such as buildings, and the Coliseum was chosen for its popularity.
Included in the cost is “a new state-of-the-art-floor,” that Seitz said “should cut down on athletic-related injuries,” because of the added cushion and bounce.
Likewise, the audience will be able to attend games with more comfort and enjoyment because of the new seating.
“Last year it was a little uncomfortable for me at the games because I have mild scoliosis and it was hard to stay the entire game. With the new seating, more people will be able to come out and stay out to support our Gamecocks,” said Darlesha Deyampert, a sophomore.
Along with basketball and women’s volleyball, several other JSU teams—such as cross country, tennis, and soccer—use the facilities offered at Pete Mathews Coliseum for offices and dressing rooms.
It also hosts events such as the AHSAA Northeast Regional Basketball Tournament, Calhoun County Basketball Tournament, fall graduations and local community events. According to Seitz, because of the updated facilities, “fans, students, and alumni will want to come out and see how the new building looks.” Last year, an average of 1,727 fans attended each of the men’s home basketball games.
Because of the new facilities, even more are expected to attend this year. “Young adults are always about the new and the now, so hearing about the new Coliseum will make students and even the community want to come out and cheer for Jacksonville,” Deyampert said.
She thinks it will be a great thing for the community and for the future of recruitment at the university. “Realistically the team does matter, but so does the uniforms, the popularity and the facilities. And the renovations will help with all of that,” she said.
Since opening in 1974, Pete Mathews Coliseum has had only one large scale renovation. “After forty years, it was time to replace the seating and put in a new floor,” Seitz said. In 1987, seats were added in the lower level. In the summer of 2014, an air conditioner was installed, and the lighting and ceiling was replaced.
According to the minutes from the Board of Trustee meeting from April, the original cost for the 2015 updates was $1.5 million, but Infinity Architecture estimated the actual cost to be $2.2 million. Despite the increase, the Board of Trustees approved the motion to move forward after making the point that a new coliseum would cost even more.
“The Coliseum will help not only the athletics, but the university as a whole. We already have a good team, and now we have a good home for them,” Deyampert said.