Univ. Of Alabama Unveils 10-Year, $600M Facility Initiative
The Univ. of Alabama unveiled a 10-year, $600M initiative to "upgrade Bryant-Denny Stadium, Coleman Coliseum, the Mal Moore Athletic Facility and several other athletics facilities," according to a front-page piece by Ben Jones of the TUSCALOOSA NEWS. AD Greg Byrne "presented the plan for ‘The Crimson Standard’ after a year-and-a-half of research and study." The plan is "highlighted by renovations to Bryant-Denny Stadium" that will cost more than $250M. The exact dates for renovations "haven’t yet been set." Coleman Coliseum will receive a "major renovation" expected to cost about $115M. Byrne said that UA has already "secured commitments" for nearly $143M toward the plan, which will "proceed in three phases." The first, which is expected to include "some of the renovations to Bryant-Denny Stadium," could begin during the fall of '19 or after the '19 football season. Byrne said that it is likely to "reduce seating to less than 100,000 from its current capacity of 101,821," but the "exact capacity after renovations isn’t known." The renovations will add a "student terrace in the stadium’s south end zone, with a large, new video board positioned over the student section." The north end zone will also "receive two new video boards for those who can’t see the video board in the south end." A field-level club seating area will be "added in the north end zone." The west sideline will "receive 10 new boxes called the 'Founder’s Club,'" each at a cost of $5M. The second phase, which "includes the update to Coleman Coliseum," will also add "club seating in the south end zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium." That phase will also "impact other Olympic sports." Byrne said that this phase "could begin" after the '21-22 basketball season. The third phase will "alter the exterior of Bryant-Denny Stadium, concourses, concessions, and stadium entrances and exits" (TUSCALOOSA NEWS, 8/17).
HOOP DREAMS: In Alabama, Tommy Deas notes for the Coleman Coliseum renovation, about 4,000 seats "will be lost, reducing capacity to around 9,500 or 10,000." The upgrade will use the "existing foundation," meaning the arena "won’t be torn down, but it will be gutted." The floor level will be "raised, seating will be moved 10 feet closer to the floor, a third level of upper-deck seating will be added on each side of the floor, student seating will be placed baseline to baseline on one side of the court and club spaces will be installed on the floor and concourse levels." Additionally, the lobby will be "upgraded and the concourse areas will be widened." Byrne "isn’t sure if Alabama will have to find another place to play for a season while the work is done." He said that "tearing down Coleman Coliseum and building a completely new arena" would have cost about $70M more for "basically the same upgrades" (TUSCALOOSA NEWS, 8/17). In Birmingham, Michael Casagrande noted there will be a more "open-air feel with the seating bowl opening up to the concourse" at Coleman Coliseum. A second tier of seating will be added to "bring those upper seats closer to the floor." Premium, "bunker style club seats will be added to one of the end lines." Additional club seats will also be added "near midcourt just above the student seats on one side" (AL.com, 8/16).