Jacksonville Coliseum Implodes, Becomes Parking Lot

Thu July 10, 2003 - Southeast Edition

JACKSONVILLE, FL (AP) The Jacksonville Coliseum was reduced to rubble on June 26, in approximately 10 seconds when the 43-year-old building was imploded.

Demolition engineers used 275 lbs. of explosives — 410 sticks of dynamite — to demolish the structure so that a new parking lot can be built in the Jacksonville sports complex.

Over the years, the round structure hosted entertainers ranging from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley to Garth Brooks, ice shows, circuses, and basketball, hockey and arena football games.

The building, however, was old and outdated and its acoustics were not up to industry standards. It only had 10,000 seats and was unable to compete with against larger arenas in the region.

Engineers first set off explosives on the metal roof on the structure and then imploded three supporting columns. One area of columns was left standing to protect the Veterans Memorial Wall, which will remain in its current location.

Officials estimated the cost of demolition at approximately $1.1 million, which included asbestos abatement, implosion, hauling, dump fees and preparing the area for a parking lot.

A new $130-million arena, which will replace the Coliseum, is being built a few blocks away. It will seat approximately 16,000 people, with state-of-the-art acoustics, luxury suites and improved sight lines. It will open in November.

Mayor John Delaney’s 7-year-old son, Jimmy, pushed the button to start the implosion.