The University of Alabama recently announced plans for a Coleman Coliseum renovation, quieting speculation about the facility’s future.
Late last week, the University of Alabama unveiled the Crimson Standard—a 10-year, $600-million fundraising campaign that will lead to improvements at multiple athletic facilities. Alabama’s concept for a renovation to football’s Bryant-Denny Stadium has received considerable attention, but its plans for Coleman Coliseum are also noteworthy.
Home to multiple athletic programs, including men’s and women’s basketball, Coleman Coliseum has served the university since its opening in 1968. However, with competing SEC schools making recent strides to modernize their offerings by constructing new arenas or renovating existing venues, there was some discussion about whether Alabama would renovate or replace Coleman Coliseum. There were signs earlier this year that the university could be planning a renovation, and last week’s announcement confirmed Alabama’s intention to upgrade the facility.
The renovation should result in a more modern, and more intimate, fan experience at Coleman Coliseum. It is currently projected that the arena will feature a seating capacity in the 9,500-to-10,000 range after the renovation, meaning that the capacity will be lowered by about 4,000 seats as a result of the project. Alabama would follow current NCAA arena renovation trends by placing an emphasis on premium seating, as bunker-style club seating at one of the end lines and club seats above the student sections are among the options that are expected to be added.
Additionally, Alabama would look to upgrade team facilities and make various technology improvements. Ribbon boards and a new videoboard would be part of the video technology upgrades, while Alabama would also improve the arena’s lighting.
The Coleman Coliseum renovation would certainly be a major boost to the athletic programs that call the venue home—basketball in particular—but some uncertainties need to be addressed. The project is currently estimated to cost $115 million, a number that could change over time. Additionally, it is still in need of final approval from university officials and the earliest it is expected to begin is after the 2021-22 season.
That means that more exact details will emerge over time, but last week’s announcement if nothing else shows Alabama’s vision for a Coleman Coliseum renovation. The project would modernize an aging facility, potentially giving a boost to the university’s basketball programs. It would also improve the fan experience by giving Coleman Coliseum a more modern look and feel, while favoring quality over quantity on seating, and adding the latest in video technology.
Renderings courtesy Crimson Tide Foundation.
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