The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss unveils $35 million renovation to Reed Green Coliseum

Southern Miss Athletics

Southern Miss Athletic Director Jeremey McClain unveiled the long-awaited $35 million renovation to Reed Green Coliseum. The project, which will span over 24 months, is projected to start in the spring of 2025.

“It’s a big day certainly for our department, our basketball programs and our university,” McClain said.

“When you think about Reed Green Coliseum you very quickly begin to think about all the really important things that happened in that building, whether it’s basketball games, whether it’s graduations, concerts, just kind of the cultural hub of really our community for a long time. So, I’m really excited to be able to get together here today for you guys talk about what that looks like in the future.”

Here is a video played for the media opening the press conference that visually represents the project.

Reed Green Coliseum is a 60-year-old building, and the project’s vision is to “Turn Legacy into Vision.”

“The term is ‘Turn the legacy into the vision,’ and that’s kind of how we feel about this,” McClain said. “It’s about taking this building and really building upon what it means to people in the community, but really preparing it for the next 50 years.”

Before detailing the specifics of the renovations, McClain specified the exact funding source.

How will the project be paid for?

In 2019, the city approved a one-percent increase in sales tax for restaurants, hotels, and motels. The measure passed after a city-wide vote, with 2,574 (81%) votes in favor and 611 (19%) against. Only 60% approval was required to pass. Consequently, the sales tax rose to 3% following the increase’s implementation.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said at the time that the revenue generated from the tax increase would be used to improve parks and recreation facilities and renovate Reed Green Coliseum.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker listens during Wednesday’s press conference outlining Reed Green Coliseum’s renovation – May 1, 2024 (Dima Mixon)

At the press conference today, Barker outlined the reasoning for that tax and the importance of this project for the community.

“The civic interest is that we don’t have a venue right now for concerts or shows that’s over 1,000 seats,” Barker said.

“We have seen dozens of groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings for parks and projects in the city, so I think our residents have already seen the value in it before today. But now the other half of that goes into motion and I can’t say enough about the university being fiscally responsible and taking that and putting that cash away so they can now borrow against it.”

When the measure passed in 2019, the university received an equal 50/50 share of the sales tax, enabling them to secure a bond for the project.

“When you’re at the university level, we got to consider all the financial numbers that come into play before you issue that service [bond],” McClain said. “And so, we got to that place this past fall and put that on the board agenda for IHL. And we got approval for that and then in February got the final step of approval. So, once we were able to do that, we kind of hit the fast forward button on the planning process and that’s where we sit today.”

McClain cited that explanation to clarify why the project’s initiation took longer than anticipated by fans or supporters. He emphasized that the university prioritized ensuring financial stability before proceeding. Presently, with finances secured, they stand at this juncture.

How long will the project take?

McClain shared that they are still in the design/programming aspect of the project. After getting the approval in February, they can finally start renovating the building. The roof renovation will begin after commencement next week. McClain said that the project should take them through the summer and that that is a vital first step in the process.

After installing the new roof, McClain said planning the rest of the facility would still take eight months. Therefore, the project on the new rendering of the facility will start in approximately early 2025.

Jeremy McClain, Director of Athletics for Southern Miss, speaks to media during Wednesday’s press conference outlining Reed Green Coliseum’s renovation – May 1, 2024 (Dima Mixon)

McClain said that the construction window will be 24 months once they break ground. He recognized that it is longer than usual, but they have to make it that long to still utilize the building during construction.

“The reason that’s a little bit lengthy is we really need to be in this building at all times. Right?” McClain said. “This is not a not a situation where we can shut this building down for a 10-month period and function not only as basketball program, but really as a university. So, the architects feel comfortable with saying and we can keep this building open and we can function in a way that we need to, but it may take a little bit longer to construct.”

What are the new renovations?

The north entrance is reimagined, providing a new lobby, ticketing and arena offices. The images show this new entrance to face 4th Street and have all glass with a USM Eagle logo faded into the glass. This entrance expands to the sidewalk to not give away any parking but to establish a “wow” factor from the street.


“I said multiple times, I want some wow factor,” McClain said. “I wanted people to drive on Fourth Street and stop at the red light and kind of turn their turn their heads to want to see the front of this building,”

The back of the building will house the arena’s new practice facility for men and women. This facility will not only include a new practice gym with six different goals but also a brand-new gym and training facility within the addition.

The addition will connect to the existing player facilities and improve access to the arena by replacing the existing ramp and service dock.

“We really needed a practice facility,” McClain said. “We had to have a place where our teams could go when the building is offline hosting the community events. We need to be able to practice and you know, the rules now allow us to basically work out year-round and we do. So, this gives us from a development standpoint, this gives us a real leg up in the recruiting world. It is going to be really important to us. This practice facility is going to mean a lot to us. And so, this was a big, big piece of the puzzle.”

McClain said the roof could not hold a centerpiece scoreboard, so they would have two very large jumbotrons in the corner of the arena that reach from floor to ceiling to make up for that.

There will be very much-needed arena renovations, including—but not limited to—widening the concourse, introducing premium logo-style seating, and installing the scoreboards and ribbon boards throughout the venue. The concession areas will be reimagined and will open onto the concourse. The restroom facilities will be modernized, and ADA accessibility improvements will be included.

McClain announced the addition of the New Basketball Club, which will be on the south side of the concourse. The club lounge will enhance the gameday experience.

McClain highlighted the significance of painting the ceiling black, citing concerts as the driving force behind this decision for the venue’s use during such events.

The capacity will come down to 6,800 seats due to the expansion of the concourse.

What will it bring to the community?

It was stressed through the press conference that this renovation will be vital to the University of Southern Mississippi and the community of Hattiesburg.

“We knew that the university would do the right thing in terms of doing a venue that puts us in a strong position athletically but also make it available for public use to have more shows,” Barker said. “I know that a lot of high schools have their graduations here at Reed Green Coliseum and so you have that piece of it, but also to have concerts that the public can have access to.”

“This will be Hattiesburg’s arena,”

Southern Miss President Joe Paul was also present at the conference, citing the importance of these renovations and the project to not only the university but also the community.

Southern Miss President: Dr. Joseph S. Paul speaks to media during Wednesday’s press conference outlining Reed Green Coliseum’s renovation – May 1, 2024 (Dima Mixon)

“It’s a huge step forward,” Dr. Paul said. “Certainly, for athletics and the competitiveness of our basketball programs. But also, for commencements, for concerts, for Disney on Ice or a sold-out coliseum for a major comedian. It’s a game changer.”

While the project still has months of planning and a couple of years to go before completion, there are nothing but bright days ahead for the Golden Eagle basketball programs and the Hattiesburg community.

“This renovation process will reshape the future of this facility while allowing us to work to reach our full potential in an ever-changing college athletics environment,” McClain said. “I am incredibly grateful for the City of Hattiesburg and everyone who has supported this project.”

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