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Supervisors Look at Ways to Manage Future Arena

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

A recent aerial photo of the Lafayette County Business Center and Arena.
Provided by ICM

Construction of the Lafayette County Business Center and Multi-Purpose Arena is on schedule to open during the first week of March, pending any harsh weather over the next few weeks.

How to manage the county’s first indoor-outdoor 48,000-square foot arena is a question the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors is now trying to answer.

The supervisors discussed several options Monday during their regular meeting, from creating a commission that would oversee the operations and management of the facility to hiring an outside company to manage the arena.

While no decisions were made Monday, the supervisors seemed to lean toward creating a committee to review and analyze those and other options in more detail and make recommendations to the supervisors.

Supervisor Mike Roberts said he had some concerns about creating a separate commission that would full control over the arena. While the board would approve the annual budget, the day-to-day operations and how those funds are spent would be mostly left to the commission.

“We would be using taxpayers’ money to subsidize it but would be losing the ability to massage and maneuver what happens,” Roberts said.

Board president Jeff Busby said if a commission were formed eventually, the arena would be the only asset it would oversee.

“We’re not looking at getting into parks and rec,” he said. “We’re very happy with our partnership with the city.”

Yoknapatawpha Arts Council president Wayne Andrews spoke to the board, expressing an interest in being involved in a committee that would help guide the supervisors on the best option to manage the facility.

“It’s an amazing facility with lots of opportunities,” he said.

The board members agreed they would look at possibly creating a committee and send suggestions on who they feel should be on the committee to County Administrator Lisa Carwyle.

A committee would only make recommendations and not have any authoritative power over the arena.

The business center, located on County Road 406, will be the new home for the Lafayette County Justice Court, the Oxford Municipal Court, Child Protective Services, Department of Human Services, the Lafayette County Health Department, Coroner’s Office, Extension Services and the Driver’s License Office. The arena will have a dirt-floor interior with concrete around the outside for seating and concessions.

Project manager Bryan Ellis, with Innovative Construction Management, also reported Monday that the entire project is about 64 percent complete, with 210 days remaining until the business center and arena are complete.

Asphalt must be put down by the time asphalt plants close around Dec. 15. Ellis said if that happens, the construction course will remain on track.

“The interior work is coming along nicely,” he said. “If we can continue to get good weather, the outside work should make good progress.”

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