Thursday, August 16, 2018

Coleman Coliseum Renovations part of $600 Million Facilities upgrade

The University unveiled plans for the "Crimson Standard" initiative today, which will include upgrades to Bryant-Denny Stadium, Coleman Coliseum, the Mal Moore building, as well as the softball and golf facilities.  Obviously we will be focusing on the Coleman part of this.  Here is a video, skip to :38 second mark for the Coleman renditions:



Here are some more pictures and info from the Crimson Tide Foundation.

Finally here's an article from TideSports.com and a timeline.  Follow me after the break for my thoughts





That's a lot to unpack, so let's get to it.  I'm simply going to break this down between what I consider the good aspects and the bad.

The Good:

-Student seating is being moved close to the court, from baseline to baseline opposite the benches.  This will create a much better atmosphere and is something I've been advocating for years.

-The seats are moving 10 feet closer to the court, and on average seats will be 35 feet closer to the court.

-All the seats appear to be actually facing the court.

-Badly needed, new video/scoreboard looks nice in the renditions.

-The addition of the 3rd deck should mean better views and a more intimate feel for those sitting in the higher seats.

The Bad:

-New capacity is estimated to be 9,500-10,100.  I think 12,000-13,000 would be more ideal.  Expect a significant jump in ticket prices in the near future to compensate for this difference.

-We're still in Coleman Coliseum.  It would have cost $70 million more to build a new arena, but in light of a $600 million project, that doesn't seem unreasonable.  Of course, it's much easier to say that when it's not my money.  Regardless, I had to chuckle at this line of BS "The renovation will maintain the historic look that has been beloved by Crimson Tide fans since 1968.."  That building is an architectural disaster, I don't know a single Alabama fan that loves the "unique barrel vault" roof that makes it look like an airplane hangar.

-It's part of phase II and construction won't even begin until after the 2022 season.  I realize football drives the bus around here and I can accept that they want to get those additional revenue streams going asap, but there's no reason the Mal Moore facility upgrades and softball should be in phase I while we are relegated to phase II.  I love going to softball games, it's probably my 3rd favorite sport on campus right now,  but it's not even a revenue sport.

-Lack of information about availability and pricing of the new clubs and the impact on current season ticket holders.   I might be interested in the court side club if the price is right, which I doubt it will be.  I guess this is understandable in light of the fact it's at least 4 years away.

-One part of all of this that everyone is overlooking:  "All projects are subject to approval of The University of Alabama Board of Trustees, presidential approval and fundraising success."  I think everyone just assumes the BOT will rubber stamp this, but if the "fundraising success" isn't there, I think we all know where shortcuts and delays will happen.  The fundraising part is not a given, either.  Donations to higher education are down significantly across the nation since the new tax plan went into effect, and I doubt Alabama is an exception.

Conclusion:

Overall this will be a huge improvement if and when it actually happens, but it's less than I was hoping for and I'm disappointed as once again it feels like the University is treating us basketball fans as somewhat of an afterthought.




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