Juco News

Bonner Arnold Coliseum upgrades continue at Northeast CC

Photo: Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball head Chelsey Rhodes poses in front of a new dry erase board inside the Lady Tigers’ renovated locker room that was donated by ACCO Brands. Historic Bonner Arnold Coliseum has received several facelifts during the 2023-24 school year with more to come in the near future. (Michael H. Miller/Northeast Public Information) 

One of the most recognizable buildings at Northeast Mississippi Community College has received several facelifts during its 75th year of existence.   

The most notable renovation for those coming into legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum has been brand-new permanent stadium-style seats in both the east and west grandstands.   

The padded seats are beige in color and prominently showcase the “NE” logo on the back support. They replace aged chair backs that were donated to Northeast by the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) from Tad Smith Coliseum.   

Northeast is publicly recognizing more alumni than ever before with a “Wall of Fame” located to the right as fans arrive through the main entrance. It includes an up-to-date listing of players from both the Lady Tigers and Tigers that continued their careers at the four-year level.   

This addition goes hand-in-hand with the display on the back of the bleachers on the south end of the facility that features Northeast’s All-Americans and its head coaches that led teams to the national tournament.   

Northeast’s student-athletes have directly benefited from the refurbishments as well. The Lady Tigers entered the 2023-24 campaign with a completely redesigned dressing room thanks in part to contributions from local businesses ACCO Brands and JBS Foods.   

New lockers with extra space for storage and charcoal gray flooring were a key part of the makeover. There is also a custom dry erase board for the coaching staff to utilize during practices and game nights.   

However, the highlights are a pair of neon signs. The bigger of the two features Northeast’s tiger head logo emblazoned into an illuminating circle that hangs over the center of the room.   

“I’m extremely excited,” said Lady Tigers head coach Chelsey Rhodes. “It was a long project, but we got it done. A lot of people were involved. The girls deserve a nice locker room because they spend a lot of time there. It’s literally new everything.”  

The Tigers will receive more retrofits to their dressing area as well. They have already added a large neon light of their own with updated lockers set for installation in the near future.   

A significant project on the horizon is replacing the hardwood from all three courts inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum. That process should begin at the conclusion of this basketball season with a new playing surface and paint scheme ready to go prior to volleyball starting its second campaign in August.  

Northeast has invested several millions of dollars over the past two decades into the modernization of what is widely regarded around the region as one of the toughest venues for visiting teams to compete in.   

Among the add-ons over the last 10 years are three coaches offices, new restrooms, an expanded concession stand, four state-of-the-art scoreboards and the Earline “Woodsie” Woods Hospitality Suite for members of Northeast’s 6th Man Club.  

Basketball lovers still have plenty of opportunities to check out these revamps. The Lady Tigers and Tigers have six home conference games remaining, including the annual rivalry matchup with Itawamba Community College on Monday, January 29.  

Northeast will also be the host site for several Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) sanctioned events. Most notable is the state quarterfinals for classes 2A and 4A from February 23-24.   

The “Northeast Mississippi Junior College Gymnasium” opened in the spring of 1952 as the fledgling institution’s first on-campus athletic facility. It was renamed in honor of Bonner Arnold, who directed the Tigers to two national runner-up finishes and nearly 500 wins as their inaugural coach, in 1973.