With renovations to Bryant Denny Stadium rolling along, attention now moves to the second phase of the 10-year Crimson Standard campaign: Coleman
Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne spoke with AL.com this week and confirmed that focus has shifted to the 52-year old multi-use arena.
“We’ve been very focused, understandably, on Phase 1 (of the Crimson Standard) because of the size and magnitude of what that is,” Byrne told AL.com, “and we’re starting to have discussions about what Phase 2 looks like and time frames. And we know that Coleman and basketball and gymnastics is a priority. We need to find a model that can work for us.”
Previous cost estimates for the Coleman renovation were in the $115 million range, but that number likely moves higher. Aside from the need for upgrades, a more intimate game experience is a big motivator for the changes.
Back in 2018, Byrne said they were looking at a final capacity in the 9,500-10,000 range with seats moving significantly closer to the floor. The idea was to add intimacy with the closest bowl seats moving from 17 feet currently down to seven feet.
Any changes implemented have the tricky requirements of accommodating both basketball and gymnastics. The suggestion of a total demolition and construction of a new arena is off the table. The plan is to gut Coleman and construct from inside of a shell. Such a project would most likely take longer than 12 months, meaning the basketball and gymnastics teams will have to move for at least one season. This should make fans in Birmingham happy since Legacy Arena (aka BJCC) will be the recipient of many of these displaced events.
As of now, things are still in planning stages. Alabama fans should not anticipating the sounds of jackhammers anytime soon. In 2018, Byrne said the best-case scenario would see work beginning after the 2021-22 season. No updated timetable has been announced.