NCAA rules no longer allow any services to be provided to student athletes that aren't equally available to regular students, but Alabama's once-proud Bryant Hall will soon be reborn as a state-of-the-art academic support center.
The official start date for renovations to Bryant Hall is July 8, 2003 with work scheduled to be completed by October 29th of 2004.
Construction costs are estimated to be $7.372 million with a total cost for the renovation of $10.634 million.
Floors that once housed individual athletes will be renovated to include:
- Reading Laboratory
- Writing Laboratory
- Mathematics Laboratory
- A dedicated computer center with flexible hours
- A dedicated lecture hall for sports related activities
- Dining Facility for student-athletes
The Academic Center will serve the Crimson Tide's 400-plus student-athletes in all 20 Division I sports.
At a later date a new dormitory, to be shared by underclassmen football players and students from the School of Engineering will be built on land adjacent to the North side of the present structure on Devotie Avenue.
At least 51 percent of the students occupying the new dorm will be Engineering students, with the remaining rooms taken up by freshman and/or sophomore football players. That percentage keeps the new building in compliance with NCAA regulations.
Since the dormitory will be used by regular students, The University will pay all costs of the new structure. Its cost is not included in the Athletic Facilities Upgrade budget. No final decisions have yet been made, but university officials estimate construction on the new dormitory wing will not begin for two years or so.
According to university records, work on the new Tennis and Soccer Stadiums officially begins on June 24, 2003 and is set to be completed by March 24, 2004. Preliminary site preparation at the Tennis Stadium is already underway, with workmen putting water and electricity lines in place. The new Tennis Stadium will replace the old one that has been razed to make way for construction on the Football Complex. The state-of-the-art facility will be located on Fifth Avenue East, next to the existing Softball Stadium and across the street from the Student Recreation Center. Soccer Stadium facilities will be built adjacent to the existing Soccer Field.
The Tennis Stadium project estimate is $3.746 million with construction costs set at $3.167 million. Project estimate for the Soccer Stadium is $2.8 million with construction costs of $2.260 million.
Work on Coleman Coliseum is tentatively set to begin July 1, 2004 with plans to finish by September 1, 2005.
Despite being decades old, the actual floor area of Coleman and arena seating is adequate. In fact fans should discount any talk they hear of reducing the number of seats in the coliseum. Seats equal money, and big-time sports today cost dearly. But the renovations will provide a long-overdue makeover, which Bama's basketball, volleyball and gymnastics coaches will much appreciate.
The modernization of Coleman Coliseum will significantly expand the front lobby, including increasing the space allotted to operations of the Ticket Office and TIDE PRIDE. In addition, display areas will be established to recognize Coleman benefactors.
Other renovations to Coleman and the immediate area include:
- A grand new entrance to Alabama Athletics from Bryant Drive (across the street from the Bryant Museum)
- Legacy recognition area
- Expansion of Coleman's front lobby
- Enlarged recruiting lounge
Davis Architects out of Birmingham have been assigned to the Coleman project. Their firm will work with HOK out of Indianapolis, which specializes in athletics facilities upgrades.
The total Coleman project is estimated to cost $21.6 million. Construction cost estimates vary from $15 to $18 million dollars, depending on the final details of the renovation. University officials are hopeful they can bring the project in for significantly less than the $18 million originally estimated.