Today@Sam Article

Renovation Work To Begin On Johnson Coliseum

Feb. 19 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May


wide angle shot of the whole coliseum
The Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum is the site of many activities, including athletic events and graduation for both the university and area high schools. A number of upgrades will be put into place in the facility over the next few months. -- Photo by Brian Blalock

Sam Houston State University’s Johnson Coliseum is getting a “facelift” of sorts to a major portion of the interior that should bring the 40-year-old structure more in line with the 21st century.

“Most of the work involves upgrading items and designs that are original to the coliseum, which was completed in 1976,” said Terry Whitman, program manager for SHSU’s Facilities Planning and Construction.

“In addition to making the improvements for the functionality of the building itself, we expect that the changes will make the interior of the facility more attractive, as well as help with our athletics department’s recruitment efforts," he said.

“The renovations at Johnson Coliseum are a game-changer for Sam Houston intercollegiate athletics,” Bearkat director of athletics Bobby Williams said. “We’ve taken major steps to improve the fan experience at Bearkat sports venues in the past two seasons with new state-of-the-art video/scoreboards for football, baseball, softball, track and field, volleyball and basketball and AstroTurf at Don Sanders Stadium. The new improvements at Johnson Coliseum are one more important step for us.”

Work will begin March 31, with Sept. 1 as the target date for limited availability and the end of November for total project completion.

The coliseum is the location of activities 250-300 days of the year and hosts more than 50 different events, including athletic games and tournaments, job fairs, award ceremonies, banquets, entertainment programs, seminars, workshops, summer camps, and commencement ceremonies not only for SHSU, but for several area high schools, as well.

Among the changes will be extensive mechanical renovation; an overhaul of the locker and training rooms; a restroom addition; replacement of the retractable seats; upgrading the information technology and audio-visual equipment; and work to address life-safety requirements.

“The floor level will be completely redone to include replacing the competition floor,” Whitman said.

“Game officials will have their own areas—they currently share the locker room with the athletes—so that they will not have to relocate quickly like they do now whenever we have a double-header athletic event,” said Ed Chatal, associate director of Facilities, Recreational Sports. 

A public restroom will be located downstairs for events that call for seating on the events floor, and safety railings will be enhanced to protect guests from falls.

The Bearkat Lounge will also have a new look, with plans calling for the room to be expanded and opened up to the bowl area. The concourse area also will receive some minor updating.

“We are committed to hosting five SHSU ceremonies and six high school graduations during of the spring commencement season, so we won’t be doing any construction work for several weeks in May and the first part of June,” Chatal said.

Following the last commencement ceremony, major construction work will begin. 

During renovation, SHSU coaches and recreational sports staff who currently have offices in Johnson Coliseum will be housed in temporary facilities adjacent to Holleman Field.

Although no streets will be blocked off around the coliseum during the renovation, Whitman encouraged the campus community to keep safety in mind if they are near the building.

“We will have 26 huge air conditioning units delivered to the coliseum, as well as 100,000 lbs. of pipe and other large equipment coming in,” Whitman said. “There will also be additional workers in the area and trucks coming and going.”

The perimeter of the building will be closed to pedestrian traffic.

PBK Sports Architects is the company responsible for the project design and White Construction Company is providing the workmanship.











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