By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The BancorpSouth Arena is now officially set to get a facelift.
The Coliseum Commission last month approved a budget that would pay for a new facade and paint for the nearly 20-year-old building, and the City Council has given its go-ahead.
“We don’t match anything else nearby, except the Auto Museum,” said arena director Todd Hunt. “We stick out because it looks like a 20-year-old building.”
The arena is dipping into its $2.5 million capital fund to pay for the $1.8 million renovation.
The exterior of the arena, made out of EIFS, or exterior insulation finishing system, needs replacing. The building will get a new coat of EIFS and painted in “warm” shades like tan, burgundy and a limestone-like finish. The lobby and other areas will be repainted, too.
It will take about six months and should be complete by the facility’s 20th anniversary in October 2013.
The arena’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and it should be the strongest in five years.
So far, 253,254 people have been in or on the BancorpSouth Arena property this year. Following the Tupelo Fair next weekend, 2011-2012 could top the arena’s most successful year, which was 1998-99, with 256,549.
The arena won’t end out the year unscathed, however. A round of storms over Labor Day weekend left it short one chiller, or air conditioning unit, after some parts were damaged by lightning. On Monday the commission made an emergency declaration to get the ball rolling on replacing the damaged parts.