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JQH signage to be removed at MSU arena

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Missouri State University’s 11,000-seat athletics and entertainment venue no longer will project the JQH Arena name to the outside world.

The university announced this morning plans to take down exterior JQH Arena signage starting June 3. The $20,750 removal process is expected to be complete within seven days, said Suzanne Shaw, MSU vice president for marketing and communications, at a news conference this morning.

“Given our recent weather, that may be optimistic,” she said.

The signage removal is part of a renaming process for the 11-year-old arena set off last year in bankruptcy court proceedings. A September 2018 settlement between MSU and JD Holdings LLC — which last year took over the operations of late hotelier John Q. Hammons’ assets — resulted in the arena’s naming rights being returned to the university.

“We have had interest in the naming rights, and we want that blank slate to be visible as a good-faith effort on our part entering this process,” MSU President Clif Smart said in a news release.

Branded signs inside the arena will remain in place until a new naming rights contract is signed. University officials are pushing to get a new agreement in place within the next 12 months.

Revenue from the agreement will go toward bond payments for the remaining costs of the $67 million arena, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Brent Dunn, vice president of university advancement, said the university still owes about $14 million to $15 million on the arena and that there isn’t a specific donation figure the university is looking for from the potential donor.

“It’s really dependent upon the donor, but nonetheless, it’s going to be a significant gift because of the magnitude of how much we still owe on the arena, and it’s going to be a permanent naming,” Dunn said.

The September 2018 settlement also requires JD Holdings to pay $10.2 million to MSU. JD Holdings has paid $3.6 million and is scheduled to deliver $6.6 million in three annual installments through 2022.

In 2006, MSU entered the original arena naming rights agreement with the Revocable Trust of John Q. Hammons, which pledged $30 million toward its $67 million cost. Hammons’ trust had made $24.4 million in payments to MSU as of October 2018, according to past SBJ reporting.

Construction started in February 2006, with the arena officially opening its doors in November 2008 with a sellout concert by rock band The Eagles, according to the release.

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