WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The future of Bowman Gray Stadium and Lawrence Joel Coliseum moved a step closer Monday night in getting new owners. A committee voted to recommend the city council begin the process to sell Bowman Gray Stadium to Winston-Salem State University and to approve the sale of the coliseum to Wake Forest University. Approval by the city council would open a bid process on the coliseum.
Several council members expressed concerns over the future name of the coliseum, named for Lawrence Joel the first black medic in the U.S. to receive the Medal of Honor.
“With Winston-Salem State University, Bowman Gray name doesn’t change. But with Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum it changes,” said council member Derwin Montgomery who wants the Lawrence Joel name preserved. “Any downgrade from the current level of Lawrence Joel Coliseum, I don’t believe preserves the name in the same level as it’s preserved right now.”
If Wake Forest University is approved to purchase the coliseum, school officials have offered to preserve the Lawrence Joel name in some capacity but the coliseum name could change as the university offers up naming rights for sale.
“We are committed to maintaining at least the level of honoring our veterans and Lawrence Joel with names, plaques and memorials that are currently there,” said Wake Forest Athletic Director Ron Wellman.
The details could equal a showdown between university officials and city council members who want the name attached to the memorial to stay. City Council will vote on the issue May 20th.