Alabama Athletics announces plans for new sports arena and golf facility  

The board of trustees approved plans for two new sports facilities on Thursday: a sports arena to replace Coleman Coliseum and a golf facility. 

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

The UA System Board of Trustees approved a proposal for a $183 million basketball arena and a $27 million golf practice facility on Thursday. 

Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne’s proposal to the trustees was the next phase of the The Crimson Standard campaign. 

A renovation to Coleman Coliseum was initially proposed when the campaign launched in 2018. After traveling across the country and looking at newly constructed and newly renovated arenas, Byrne and his staff decided a rebuild would be better than a renovation. 

Coleman Coliseum would be used for administrative purposes and become the home of the women’s basketball team’s practice facility. The gymnastics practice facility would also receive an upgrade. 

The funding will be split between Crimson Standard gifts and bonds. Approximately $62 million of the $183 million will come from the campaign. The other $120 million will come from bonds. 

“We’ve been working on the Crimson Standard now for several years, and the response from our donors has been just really outstanding,” Byrne said. “We’ve been very pleased with [the] progress that they have helped us move along as a department.”

The new arena would house competitions for gymnastics and men’s and women’s basketball. Several sites are still being considered around the Alabama campus for the approximately 10,400-seat arena. 

While capacity would decrease by about 4,000 seats, there will still be approximately 2,200 seats for students, and the student section will encompass three-fourths of the lower bowl of the new arena. 

“Our fan support and student section has been incredible, and we are excited about the possibility of bringing them even closer to the action,” Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats said. “I’ve said multiple times how having that support really makes a huge difference in the home-court advantage, and this would certainly make for an outstanding game day atmosphere for our team and our fans.”

Some potential sites for the arena include the Coleman parking lot, the band field located off of University Boulevard, a location off Jack Warner Parkway and the RV parking lot for football game days north of Rhoads Stadium. 

Along with the new arena, Byrne proposed a new golf facility about a mile from campus to be used by both the men’s and women’s teams. It will cost around $27 million and will be funded by both the Crimson Standard and bonds. Both teams practice and have their facilities at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

“Having a golf course that we can practice and play on exclusively is so important, and we are thrilled that we could have our own home with this facility,” women’s golf coach Mic Potter said. “We are so excited about what this could do for the future of the golf programs. More on-course golf instruction is trending upward, and this would give us an opportunity to be in a league of our own.”

The board also approved the final budget for the Bryant-Denny Stadium renovations. The budget increased to $2.3 million dollars due to site conditions, minor changes and extra safety measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget increase was funded by money from the Crimson Standard.