RAPIDES PARISH, La. - The Rapides Parish Coliseum opened in 1965, and it hasn't changed much since then. It's almost fifty years old, and some think it's time for a face lift.
Lizzy Neal and her Cenla Derby Dames have a history with the Rapides Parish Coliseum.
Lizzy Neal, Cenla Derby Dames captain: "Our first game was in the coliseum in 2010."
But it's just that--a history. These days, the roller derby girls play their games in the Expo Hall behind the main venue.
Lizzy Neal: "We skate on the floor. So when there are cracks and divots and potholes... It's one thing in your car, it's another on your feet."
Neal says the lighting and the P. A. system aren't up to the task either. But she'd like them to be. And not just for her team.
Lizzy Neal: "It's been around for a long time. It's been around forever. And it needs to be updated, to be a presence in Alexandria."
The administration at the Coliseum agrees, and they're trying to make it happen.
Kimberly Neal, executive director of Rapides parish Coliseum: "We will be completely renovated. Our venue will be able to be compared to the Cajun Dome, the Century Link center and any other reputable venue in the state."
She says the coliseum is struggling. Its condition keeps certain performers from using it.
Kim Neal: "We have promoters, planners call us, but we are unable to give them what they need to host their show."
So Tuesday night, the coliseum board of directors saw plans from two different architecture firms.
Both plans want to replace all of the audio-visual equipment, plumbing, seating and more.
Each also plans to expand the parking and renovate the Ag Center and Expo Hall.
The board took a look, and they'll have until Wednesday to decide which plan they'll go with. And the hope is that the renovations would bring new life here.
Kim Neal: "We would love to be able to restore that hope and give our community something to be proud of again."
And for someone like Lizzy Neal, who has both performed and attended here, she says, if you re-build it, they will come.
Lizzy: "Be big, and we'll bring big things in."
The Coliseum board meets again tomorrow morning to decide which design to use. And whichever plan is chosen, the renovations are expected to cost about 23 million dollars.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:16 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:16:34 GMT
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