by Sam Hieb
Winston-Salem State University Chancellor Donald Reaves and Wake Forest University athletics director Ron Wellman made their respective pitches to the City Council’s finance committee to purchase Bowman Gray Stadium and Joel Coliseum:
The city wants to sell.
Doing so would unload debt and operating costs associated with both facilities, officials said. After three years of talking about selling the stadiums, city officials want to make it happen before the next budget cycle starts July 1. They called for at least two open sessions – which haven’t been scheduled yet – to get feedback from city residents.
The proposed purchase price for Bowman Gray would be a little more than $7 million, which would include a repayment of WSSU debt to the city totaling nearly $2.79 million, city officials said. The proposed price for Joel is $8 million, according to city officials.
Council members Vivian Burke and James Taylor expressed concern regarding the coliseum’s name should Wake Forest purchase it, and Wellman was noncommittal. With all due respect to Lawrence Joel –the the first black medic in the U.S. to receive the Medal of Honor—- that’s a minor issue given Winston-Salem’s financial situation.