Big changes planned at Mississippi Fairgrounds

Some big changes could be coming for two aging structures at the Mississippi Fairgrounds.

Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is hoping to giving a major facelift to the fairgrounds, and her plan is gaining support among legislators at the state Capitol.

The multimillion dollar improvements include building a new Trade Mart and renovating the Coliseum.

“It was built and opened in 1962, and it’s just that some things need updating. We’re looking at a club level, maybe suites be put in there, all new seating throughout, removing the stairs that are so steep,” Hyde-Smith said.

The last upgrades happened in 1979 after a major flood. The Coliseum was given a new roof and new exterior panels.

Since then, the aging structure has struggled to keep up with the demands of big events like rodeos and high school basketball championships.

The House earmarked $55 million in bonds for the project last week. The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote.

Officials said more than 1 million people visit the Coliseum each year, and they hope changes inside and at the Trade Mart will attract more events to the fairgrounds.