Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore planning to make more improvements

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - The Hardy Murphy Coliseum has been an attraction for more than 80 years in Ardmore and it's operators are making sure it's well set up for the next several decades.

Jeffrey Storms is the General Manager for the Coliseum.

He said two of the biggest projects so far have been replacing the outside roof covering the arena and building a perimeter fence.

A two percent tax increase for hotels and motels, voted on in 2016, helped fund those projects.

"That does come to us to help us with our operating and to help us do some of the improvements and take care of some of the deferred maintenance that we weren't able to address over the years," Storms said.

Now, the Coliseum said it has a four phase master plan in place for further improvements to the Coliseum and surrounding buildings in the next five or six years.

The coliseum will get a new interior roof lining, sloped roofs and interior remodeling of the wings and new seating.

The arenas and barns will see upgrades in the second through fourth phases.

Storms said the first phase will be about $3.5 million.

The Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity brought in several hundred horses and riders in October.

The Coliseum has seen events like these grow in the last few years, which has had an increased impact on the dollars spent in Ardmore.

"We've steadily increased from around $7 million four years ago to just under $11 million as of 2018," Storms said.

The Coliseum will look to grow its bigger shows as it works on the upgrades.

"We have a lot of national shows," Storms said. "We would like to get more so we're always looking to increase and improve and so we're very hopeful for our future here."

The Coliseum said it plans to begin the next stage of improvements next year.