Setting the stage for VIPs at the Coast Coliseum

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The Coast Coliseum is setting the stage for VIPs and as News 25’s Toni Miles explains you could be one of them come December.

The Coast Coliseum has already played host to the president and now they’re setting the stage to further expand the VIP experience, available to anyone attending an event here in December. Executive Director Matt McDonnell said, “What you see behind me used to be the old SeaWolves and Mississippi Surge locker room and front offices, and now it’s going to be turned into a very high-end VIP gathering area when we are able to come back in and do major events at the arena.”

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“In the front area, we’ll have a portable bar, some furnishings. We’ll have some photographs of sporting events that have taken place here over the years at the Coliseum. We opened in 1977. You name it, we’ve done it. There will be a lot of memorabilia here from events that took place here.”

Work on the VIP area is now underway, just weeks after installing new rigging in the Coliseum roof, better equipping the facility to meet the needs of high quality shows. They continue to raise the bar with this new area which will offer high-end drinks and food, along with other perks to up to 200 people when done and access will be available to anyone attending an event at the Coliseum. “It’s a higher end guest experience area for people who don’t mind paying for that experience. We are calling it the Locker Room because that’s what it was.”

Also part of the project is a canopy that will be built, giving VIP guests direct access and protecting people from inclement weather. “So if you’re dropped off in inclement weather, you’ll be able to come into a private entrance into the arena and then the private entrance into the hospitality area.”

McDonnell says this upgrade will also level the competitive playing field for the Coast Coliseum. “Most of your arenas that were built in the early 2000’s and since then have these types of amenities, and for us to be competitive, we, too, have to offer these guest experiences. That was the method behind the madness, and now it’s become a reality.”

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned.... If you’d like to book a live in studio interview on News 25 Today, just email: tmiles@wxxv25.com. These interviews can have up to two guests, last about two minutes and showcase community events, non-profit organizations and things of interest to people in our area…and they’re FREE! Just send information about your event, including date, time, location, contact number and/or website for viewers wanting more information, along with the proper name and titles of the person or two people who will be interviewed, and Toni or producer Porsha Williams (pwilliams@wxxv25.com) will get back with you via email in a timely manner to book a date. Typical interview times are daily at: 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 or 8:45 am. Guests are asked to arrive about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also ask about booking a live shot on location for news events for our 6 and 7 am newscasts. We look forwarding to having you!