UWA shares plans for renovations to Tiger Stadium
The University of West Alabama has already made changes to Tiger Stadium, as part of a multi-million dollar renovation plan designed to upgrade the facility that houses football and men's and women's soccer.
New turf has already been laid down to replace old turf that was implemented in 2008. Athletic director Bobby Wallace said replacing the turf was essential as it was outdated.
“We had to do the turf. It was a necessity because of the safety factor,” Wallace explained. “The old turf was put down when I was coaching here, I believe in 2008, so it had to be replaced. The new turf now is spectacular and we hope to get more years out of it then we did the last one.”
The new turf includes a new design to the logo in the center of the field as well as the two end zones. The center of the field features UWA’s tiger logo while both end zones are bright red with updated font that reads ‘UWA’ in one end zone and ‘Tigers’ in the other.
Prior to the 2020 season, the school is planning to add new permaplex bleachers to the concrete, general admission (GA) seating. With the bleachers, fans and students in GA seating will no longer have to sit directly on the concrete.
The university’s big renovations will take place once the 2020 football season concludes. Remodeling and new additions include the following:
- New 400 square foot academic center for student athletes
- Adding two luxury suites (one on each side of the press box)
- Remodeling of the press box
- New chair back seats in upper-level seating
- Instillation of an elevator
- New “Tiger Club” room with a 340 person capacity. Location will move to backside by parking lot.
Wallace shared how creating an academic center devoted to student athletes was a necessity.
“Since Mike Jones became our academic advisor, we have gone from graduating 44 student athletes a year four years ago to graduating 104 this year,” Wallace shared. “The process of what we are really here for, which is to graduate student athletes, will be enhanced for all sports with that new addition.”
Wallace is hoping the renovations can be used to recruit athletes as well as prospective students.
“It (the renovations) will be a recruiting tool for all sports and all students. When you go to a university, something that stands out most of the time is the football stadium and when you drive by and through our campus, you can't hardly not notice the football stadium,” Wallace explained. “It is going to look so much better and it will give a lot of pride to the entire university, not just football or soccer."
To help with funding of the renovations, which Wallace predicts will cost the school around $4 million, the school has implemented student athletic fees. Money given to the school by donors will also help finance the renovations.
“I called athletic directors from all across The South. The number one response I received from athletic directors was that without student athletic fees, their schools couldn’t exist,” Wallace said. “We have never had them in the past so we implemented that. That has given us some resources as well as the tremendous support from our alumni, friends and donors will also help. I can’t tell you the enthusiasm and generosity of the people I have gone out to talk with about this project.”
The stadium’s new features will also be utilized for events other than game days. Wallace said the school will use the new luxury suites and Tiger Room to entertain donors as well as hold various events.