It has taken some time to get approved, but Alabama is finally taking the steps to build a new basketball arena in Tuscaloosa.
The plans have been in place for a number of years, but the board of trustees gave the green light to begin stage 1 of the plans for the on-campus arena. The new arena will hold 10,136 fans, compared to the 15,383 that the 54-year-old Coleman Coliseum currently holds. The new arena will be home to the men’s and women’s basketball team, along with the gymnastics team.
Alabama AD Greg Byrne had this to say about the timeline of construction to begin.
“Well, so basically yesterday was the approval of stage one, which allows us to start getting more detailed about everything you saw, which will include construction and project costs. We have the early estimates of where we think it will be. There’s going to be a number of processes that we go through, through the board of trustees, in the building of any facility, including this one. We’re gonna need to continue to raise money for the projects.
The arena will also get the students closer to the court, providing seating around a majority of the lower bowl, just like we’ve seen at Auburn. Also, it will have premium options, with club, loge, courtside and lower-level preferred seating. This will be a huge-step in the right direction for Alabama basketball, especially with how much traction they’ve gotten out of Coleman.
When asked about the overall capacity, Byrne wanted to make this an intimate environment, but also a setting that can considered one of the top arena’s on the country, while keeping up with demand.
“Couple things on that. One, I think I’ve been pretty consistent on messaging. You build your church not necessarily for Easter Sunday but the other 51 weeks of the year. There have been some games where we’ve exceeded that capacity. Not many, though. So we want to make sure we keep the demand. We want to make sure it’s an intimate environment, what we do.”
Byrne added, “So from a construction standpoint, from a fan affordability standpoint, from an atmosphere standpoint and looking at our historical data from tickets getting scanned in, tickets sold, all the different things … we really feel like this is a good solid number, and it doesn’t matter if your arena seats 5,000, if your arena seats 15,000.”
The new facility is part of the ‘Crimson Standard Initiative’ and will cost $183 Million. Now, this is just the beginning, with many more approvals needed and the process taking a number of years. But, it seems like Alabama is on the right track to getting this done.
Also, if you’re wondering if the arena gives off a vibe that it might look like ‘Lucas Oil Stadium’ in Indianapolis, Byrne said that some of that architecture would fit well with their designing.
“Make sure I say it right — it’s the classic revival look, right? So we did take that into consideration. We thought the idea of having a roof that looks different than what we have with Coleman would be a good thing. So we spent quite a bit of time discussing what the roofline and everything else would look like, and this is our preliminary look at it and [I] think that it’s a very good start.”
Game on, Alabama is stepping up when it comes to basketball facilities.