Jackson State has identified four potential construction sites for a new, state of the art dome multi-purpose stadium that would cost an estimated $200 million. The plans for a 50,000-seat stadium venue that would host Jackson State football and basketball in addition to concerts and other events were discussed publicly Friday.
According to the Jackson Free Press, Jackson State hopes to receive as much financial support from the public as possible, with a bill to provide up to $75 million in public bonds currently awaiting review by the Ways and Means committee. Other funds for the stadium would be raised by other avenues, including potential stadium naming rights being sold and luxury suites.
"There's going to be some private dollars, there's going to be some public dollars, and some dollars are going to be funded through the anticipated revenue from the project," Vice President of Business and Finance Michael Thomas said.
Jackson State averaged 14,462 fans per home game in 2012, a dramatic drop off from averaging 23,166 fans per game in 2011. Filling a 50,000-seat stadium would appear to be a lofty challenge for the FCS program, but making it a multi-purpose, weather-controlled venue could offset some of those concerns by consolidating multiple sports programs under the same roof for convenience. Syracuse does the same thing at the Carrier Dome, home to Orange football and basketball. But Syracuse also has a much larger budget to work with.
As SB Nation notes, Jackson State’s proposed plans worth $200 million more than double recent facility upgrade costs in 2011 of FBS schools such as Florida Atlantic ($70 million) and North Texas ($78 million) and other recent costs at Akron, and Central Florida.
If the stadium does move forward to a construction phase, Jackson State may have to work out some deals to acquire more land or reach an agreement with current property owners or the local community. According to the report by the Jackson Free Press, Jackson State owns approximately 60 percent of the land for two potential sites and 80 percent of the land for the remaining two options.
Jackson State is in some need of a facilities upgrade. Veterans Memorial Stadium, actually has a larger seating capacity of over 60,000 is an aging facility. Built in 1941, Veterans Stadium is a targeted site for an expanded medical facility of the University of Mississippi.