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Roy Anderson Corp. star player in sports facilities construction

GULFPORT — In its quest for diversity, Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport, one of the largest general construction companies in the southeast, has unexpectedly carved itself a niche by recently landing big contracts for sports facilities.

This fall, Roy Anderson Corp. will wrap up construction of the $44-million Bossier City Multi-Purpose Sports Arena in Louisiana and the $8.5-million renovation of Memorial Stadium in Jackson. In June, Roy Anderson Corp. was selected as general contractor for the $19.7-million Davis-Wade Stadium at Scott Field expansion on the campus of Mississippi State University. Pending an award as low bidder, the company will handle a $24-million project at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at the University of Mississippi.

“We didn’t seek it. It just turned out that we landed some big contracts for sports facilities, perhaps because we specialize in doing a lot of concrete work ourselves and a lot of these projects were really heavy with concrete work,” said Roy Anderson III, president, chairman and CEO. His father, Roy Anderson Jr., who founded the firm in 1955, retired May 1.

Perhaps by coincidence, MSU and UM are following suit with other university stadium expansions in the Southeastern Conference, Anderson said.

“Universities like Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee are forcing other universities to compete for additional revenue in recruiting and so forth, and we’re seeing schools like Ole Miss and MSU upgrade their facilities to compete in the SEC,” said Anderson, a University of Alabama alum. “We’re not involved with it, but I know Louisiana State University recently expanded its stadium and the University of Arkansas is doing a huge $60-million expansion. Three years ago, the University of Alabama expanded theirs. I think it’s come out of the universities’ increased revenues mainly through SEC football and it’s driving the additional need for seating. Alumni are demanding luxury suites, so you’re seeing a lot of university stadiums being very competitive.”

Other SEC members include Auburn University, Vanderbilt, University of Kentucky, University of South Carolina, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee and the University of Florida.

The $19.7-million project at the Bulldogs’ football home will offer three new viewing levels and nearly 10,000 additional seats on the east side of the stadium and should be ready by mid-fall 2001.

The three-level addition will cantilever over the existing stands and provide access with four elevators, two pedestrian ramps and stairs. The club level will have 1,660 seats; the second level will hold 50 skyboxes, with each suite containing 14 seats, a private restroom, kitchen and glass curtain. The upper deck will have 7,600 seats. When complete, the facility will have more than 50,000 sideline seats.

“We are excited to have a Mississippi firm handling construction for the most ambitious athletic construction project we’ve undertaken in the last 50 years,” said Larry Templeton, MSU Athletic Director.

The $24-million project at the Rebels’ football home, scheduled to start in December with a spring 2002 completion date, will include 28 new luxury suites, an additional 2,288 chairback seats and 10,000 new bleacher seats, Anderson said.

Even though Roy Anderson Corp. landed big contracts for sports facilities recently, Anderson insisted that the company, currently in an expansion mode, is concentrating on diversification.

“With four offices in Dallas, Jackson, Gulfport and Memphis, we’re aggressively expanding throughout the Southeast and concentrating on being involved in all sectors of the construction economy, not just one sector,” he said. “With gaming work slowing down in Mississippi, we’re concentrating heavily on hard bid work. In the health care industry, we’re doing several hospitals and medical office buildings.”

Two years ago, the 850-employee construction company was heavily involved in the prison-building sector.

“We did about seven prisons in a three- year time period, but there hasn’t been a lot of public prison work in Mississippi in the last couple of years,” he said. “We’re doing a correctional facility over in St. Charles Parish in Louisiana, but we’re mainly doing a lot of hotels out of our Dallas, Jackson and Memphis offices.”

With recent expansions in sports franchises, such as hockey, arena football and ABA basketball popping up all over the Southeast, sports facilities may dominate the construction business for a while.

“We’re constantly in touch with management companies of sports arenas and coliseums as projects come up,” he said. “There are a lot of architects that specialize in sports complexes, and we bid work with them. It will be interesting to see what develops next.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lynne@thewritingdesk.com or (601) 853-3967.


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