Birmingham, Ala. – August 29, 2016 marked a huge day in history for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), as the Department of Athletics broke ground on the Football Operations Center and Legacy Pavilion and the Blazers made their return to the gridiron for the first time in nearly two years.
To reinstate its football, bowling and rifle programs, the University needed to raise more than $17 million. In the last 15 months, UAB athletics has brought in more than $40 million, with donations still coming in.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site of the current football facility located just off University Avenue and 11th Street, and was a tangible sign of the football program’s revival after being canceled in December 2014. UAB Head Coach Bill Clark, President Ray Watts, Director of Athletics Mark Ingram and Campaign Committee Chair Hatton Smith were all present for the momentous occasion.
“Coach Clark and I, along with several members of our staff, have spent the last nine months working with our local architects, Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, and Kansas City architects, HOK, to design one of the most efficient facilities of its kind in the country,” said Ingram. “I’ve had other athletic directors, four that I can think of off the top of my head that have seen the design, and are calling to ask about it, `How did we come up with this?’ I assure you, we may be the first, but we won’t be the last, because it’s that special and that unique.”
The 46,000-square-foot football operations building will house athletic training facilities, a weight room, meeting and film rooms, locker rooms and office space. The connected Legacy Pavilion will feature a 100-yard turf field covered by a pavilion roof and without climate-controlled walls, making it one of the first facilities of its kind.
The $22.5 million Football Operations Center and Legacy Pavilion is slated for completion prior to the team’s return in the 2017 football season.
The Blazers have already signed deals for future matchups with Southeastern Conference teams, including Florida in 2017, Texas A&M in 2018 and the University of Tennessee in 2019.