War Memorial Stadium will require approximately $17 million in upgrades to remain a usable facility, according to a new study on the venue.
One of the major issues facing War Memorial Stadium is its relationship with the University of Arkansas‘ football program, which has played annual games at the venue since it opened in 1948. Arkansas is not contractually committed to play games at the facility beyond its next regular-season contest there in October, and it has previously contended that the stadium will require up to $10 million in upgrades to meet SEC standards and continue hosting the annual games.
A new report from Conventions Sport & Leisure International LLC addresses the condition of War Memorial Stadium, and finds that about $17 million will need to be invested in various areas of the facility to make it viable going forward. The state Department of Parks and Tourism, which manages the stadium and commissioned the study, is open to discussing on the project, though funding will have to be addressed. More from The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
The $17 million noted in the study does not include requirements to meet Southeastern Conference standards.
Instead, it addresses needs such as storage capacity, replacing the turf and “antiquated and significantly undersized” food-service spaces.
The turf replacement was already scheduled for 2019, Webb said, “because its shelf life is about up.”
Finding money to pay for the suggested improvements will be a challenge because Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s fiscal 2018 general-revenue budget cut the stadium’s funds in half, to $447,647.
[Parks and Tourism Department director Kane] Webb said his department will look at “alternate sources of revenue,” some of which were proposed in the study. Most suggestions for increased income involved attracting more events to the stadium.
According to both university and Parks and Tourism Department officials, discussions continue about the possibility of Arkansas football playing games at War Memorial Stadium beyond this year. A game against the University of Mississippi is scheduled to be played there in October.
Image courtesy War Memorial Stadium.
RELATED STORIES: Arkansas Calls for War Memorial Stadium Upgrades