Monday, November 30, 2009

Greensboro Coliseum Complex

An aerial view of the coliseum complex.

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a vital part of the entertainment aspect of the community. With an annual average attendance of 1.13 million and over 900 events every year, it is a major economic resource for the city. It was built in 1959 as the War Memorial Auditorium, and was renamed the Greensboro Coliseum in the 1960s. There are several different parts of the complex, including the coliseum, the War Memorial Auditorium, and the Special Events Center.

Why is the coliseum in that specific location?
There was a large controversy over where to put the coliseum. McDaniel Lewis thought that one of the proposed sites at Lindsay and Forbis Streets (behind the Richardson Civic Center) was too small and did not have enough room for expansion. He also thought that it would not draw the crowds that they wanted because it was too close to the railroad. Now, the complex is considered a "major civic asset" and is a "splendid memorial to the servicemen".

With events ranging from teen pop superstars, to rap artists, to craft shows, to basketball games, the coliseum complex draws all sorts of people. Each specific center hosts a certain type of event.
The Greensboro Coliseum can seat up to 23,500 people, and can be configured for several different types of events, including concerts and sporting events.

The War Memorial Auditorium can seat 2,400 people and hosts events like symphony concerts and plays. There have been motions to replace the Auditorium, but none have passed. I think this is because of the historical ties that the space has, and it is a strong memorial for those fallen in the wars.

The Special Events Center has 167,000 square feet of space and often is host to graduations from surrounding schools and exhibitions.

What cultural and international ties does the complex have?
The coliseum complex offers events for everyone. They also bring events and performing artists that have traveled worldwide and are popular around the world. Some examples are the Barnum and Bailey Circus and various sporting events, like basketball and hockey.

This is a list of the top 20 all-time concert attendance records.
1.Phish 3/1/03 23,642
2. Backstreet Boys 2/2/00 22,450
3. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band 2/17/01 22,221
4. Bon Jovi with special guest Daughtry 3/16/08 22,115
5. Billy Joel & Elton John 4/28/01 21,935
6. The Dixie Chicks 5/17/03 21,473
7. Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band 4/20/02 20,455
8. George Strait 1/20/07 19,896
9. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 11/16/02 19,271
10. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 5/2/09 18,431
11. Superjam 6/19/09 18,279
12. Miley Cyrus 11/22/09 17,835
13. Superjam 6/27/08 17,787
14. Elton John 11/8/74 17,611
15. Shania Twain 11/20/99 17,533
16. The Dead 4/12/09 17,519
17. The Who 11/28/75 17,504
18. Led Zeppelin 1/29/75 17,500
The Rolling Stones 7/31/75 17,500
Elton John 7/13/76 17,500
The Eagles 6/27/77 17,500,0,3394253.story

What impact will the new swim center have? History of initiatives passed to create the center?
I think that the new swim center will have a dramatic impact on the demographics of the audience at the coliseum complex. It will bring in a whole new group of visitors to see this different sporting event. I did not find any projections about how many people the swim center will hold, so I am unsure of the final increased capacity of the complex. Henri Fourrier, CEO of the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that "the aquatics center could have an annual economic impact of $14.5 million." It will be used to attract both major and local swim events. According to Butch Simmons, the city engineering and inspections director, engineers and staff members have made some cosmetic changes, like downgrading to less expensive building finishes inside and out and changing the type of heating and air conditioning planned for the building. “The only thing we used as a guiding post was we didn’t want to impact the integrity of the design of the pool system so it could be used as a venue to host national meets,” coliseum director Matt Brown said. According to the News and Record, the swim center still costs roughly $6 million more than the city has to spend. There are many ideas about how to pay for it, including using hotel room taxes to help.

Pages and fact sheets from Entertainment Outlook, October 1984.

According to Grady Clay's vocabulary, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a vibrant center for the city. It brings everyone together to enjoy a performance, a graduation, a sporting event. It is along one of the major beats in the city: High Point Road/Lee Street. It draws people from all over to participate in an event together, and is a major economic resource for the city. I think that I was able to look at the complex from a different perspective than I would have before this class. I examined more in-depth and learned a lot more than I originally would have.

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