A day after announcing it would retain "Liberty" as part of its proposed name for Memphis' Liberty Bowl Stadium, Pine Bluff-based Simmons Bank said Friday that it was negotiating in partnership with the War Memorial Stadium Commission and the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to rename the field at the Little Rock stadium Simmons Bank Field.
The new name would be partly identical to the field at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, known in full as Simmons Bank Field at Golden Lion Stadium. A Simmons spokeswoman said the planned name change at War Memorial would have no impact on the UAPB facility. The dates for renaming the Little Rock field and Memphis stadium, the latter which would be Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, are in negotiations, she said.
Simmons released the news concerning War Memorial Stadium a day before the UAPB Golden Lions take on the University of Arkansas Razorbacks in the first-ever football meeting between the programs from sister campuses.
"Our partnership with the War Memorial Stadium Commission and Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, provides the opportunity to honor our veterans and provide upgrades to this historic stadium," Simmons Bank Chairman and CEO George Makris said in a news release. "It is an honor for Simmons Bank to be a part of War Memorial Stadium's next chapter."
Simmons officials said its sponsorship will provide War Memorial with additional improvements and it is committing $110,000 to the Woody Williams Foundation for construction and endowment of the Liberty Park Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Memphis. No further financial terms related to either renaming were announced, however.
War Memorial first opened in 1948 and is named in honor of those who gave their lives in service to the U.S. during World Wars I and II.
"War Memorial Stadium has a rich history as a sports and entertainment venue that honors our state's veterans," Stacy Hurst, director of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said. "With the support of Simmons Bank, we will be able to make sure that the stadium remains a state treasure for many years to come."
Said Kevin Crass, the War Memorial Stadium Commission chairman: "We have established a strong partnership with Simmons Bank and look forward to enhancing the stadium to continue to provide a world-class venue for the community and our visitors to enjoy."
Simmons also donated $1 million toward construction of the Dr. Josetta Wilkins Jefferson County Health Unit and Sgt. Elga Lee Roberts Jefferson County Veterans Services Office in Pine Bluff, according to the release. The Veterans Service Office is set to open this fall, according to Simmons.