Johnson Coliseum seeks $9.5 million renovations from TSUS

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Renovations to Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum will be voted on at the Texas State University System’s Board of Regents meeting today and Friday.

The project would cost $9.5 million and would replace mechanical equipment from 1976, add 1,000 seats, make restrooms ADA compliant, renovate dressing and training rooms, and build out approximately 4,000 square feet.

The money would come from TSUS Revenue Bonds, and the preliminary project cost is based on a third-party estimate.

“Anytime you’re putting $9.5 million into your facility, that’s going to benefit everybody,” SHSU’s men’s basketball head coach Jason Hooten said. “It’s going to benefit our recruiting. One, we’re going to continue to get good student-athletes in here and put a quality product on the court. Number two, it’s going to help an area where we’ll be able to draw more attention to our campus by being able to host more tournaments and more teams, because we’ll have more room now and more dressing rooms.”

Hooten said he thinks the home-court advantage would improve because seats will be added courtside through the renovations.
“I think it makes more of a better home court advantage because where we go the visiting team sits behind our bench,” he said. “You think it gets loud in [Johnson Coliseum] now with just 2,000 people, wait until we put those seats back there, it now becomes unique and everybody is down on the court.”

Johnson Coliseum opened in 1976 as University Coliseum and was later dedicated to Bernard G. Johnson, the former president of the Board of Regents. The coliseum currently holds 6,110 seats and hosts athletic games, commencement and various events hosted by Sam Houston State University.

Ed Chatal, SHSU’s Associate Director of Facilities, wished not to comment on the matter until later this semester.

Texas State is also seeking renovations to its coliseum, Strahan Coliseum, from TSUS. The coliseum is looking to improve its locker rooms that “are not adequate to serve male and female student athletes,” according to the proposal. The project is estimated at $3,599,232.

If the Board of Regents approves the renovations, Hooten sees the Bearkats’ home court becoming the dominant threat in the Southland Conference.

“I think right now the nicest facility in our league is probably Lamar,” Hooten said. “Once we get these renovations, we’ll have the nicest facility in our conference.

Layout Editor Ryan Reynolds contributed to this report.