Coliseum stepping up venue amenities

The Ector County Coliseum is planning for the future with projects aimed to breathe new life into a facility falling behind neighboring event venues.
Coliseum Director Aaron Martin said the complex will undergo many changes that will open the door for opportunities and bring more events and attractions to Odessa.
Martin said the $3.7 million horse stall barn project is a key component to what local leaders envision for the Ector County Coliseum.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Childers said hotel/motel tax would be utilized for funding the vast majority of improvements.
The barn will have 208 horse stalls and enable the complex to host equestrian, competitive rodeo and show events year-round.
The project is anticipated to be complete in January 2020 before the SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo.
Currently two 24,000-square-foot barn spaces are used for horse stalls, but they are not accessible throughout the year and require additional labor and costs to set up each time they are reinstalled.
The space is transformed to accommodate other events any time full use of the facility is needed for events like the Permian Basin Fair and Exposition or the Permian Basin International Oil Show.
“The Ector County Coliseum is a multipurpose facility and there have been a lot of other facilities that have sprung up in Andrews and even Midland has their own dedicated horse facility that does strictly horse-styled events,” Martin said. “Our barns have been just multipurpose barns. That makes us versatile, but it also limits us in a way.”
Martin said projects that expand the Ector County Coliseum’s ability to accommodate more events trickle down and support the community by strengthening the city’s tourism industry.
“We’re here to be an economic engine for Odessa and put heads in beds,” he said. “We’re a tourism engine, one of them, for Ector County and that’s definitely what our goal is.”
Childers said the Court has seen value in the facility for a long time but gathering the expertise needed to organize and dictate a direction to take only came together less than a year ago.
The Ector County Program Area Committee contains a mix of community members from a retired Odessa College rodeo coach to Odessa Convention and Visitors Bureau staff.
Committee members are dedicated to promoting agriculture-related events. The committee is currently looking at long-term planning options to bolster agriculture activities for youth and other projects to improve conditions at the Ector County Coliseum.
“We can take a facility that has the ability to have many more events than it currently has and grow it to what it’s capable of,” said Jim Wise, committee member and president of the SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo.