UA Trustees Approve $10 Million Budget for Adapted Athletics Facility
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama’s Adapted Athletics program soon will have a new home.
The UA System Board of Trustees Friday approved a $10 million budget to construct a two-story, 27,036 square-feet facility that will include a game venue for wheelchair basketball, locker rooms, workout/training room, team meeting rooms and study halls. The facility will be along the south façade of the UA Rec Center, east of the main entrance.
Construction tentatively will begin in November 2016. The target date for completion will be roughly 17 months after construction begins.
“Over the 13 years since we started, there have been a lot of different days and moments we’ve considered milestones,” said Dr. Brent Hardin, director of UA Adapted Athletics. “Our mission has always been to give our students the same opportunities stand-up athletes have on campus. This puts us a lot closer to that goal.
“Everyone in our program is excited and thankful for the support from our administration. (UA President) Dr. Stuart Bell is a big proponent of making this the best facility for adapted athletes, to raise the bar for the entire country. And (former UA President) Dr. Robert Witt has opened so many doors for us to grow.”
The facility will include a NCAA regulation-size basketball court in an 11,500-square-foot gymnasium that will include grandstand seating, a lobby and concourse. The training and workout room will include specialized adapted workout equipment in more than 5,000 square feet of space.
“I’m delighted for our student-athletes in Adapted Athletics to have a facility that will meet all of their needs and help them continue the successes they’ve had,” Bell said. “This facility will also help increase access for students with disabilities to enjoy sports and recreation at a noncompetitive level.”
The UA Adapted Athletic Program began in 2003 with women’s wheelchair basketball. The program has since grown to include 30 student-athletes in women’s basketball, men’s basketball team, wheelchair tennis, para-rowing and adapted golf. More than 100 students participate in the program’s noncompetitive sports options.
UA is home to five national championships in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015). Wheelchair tennis has won two national championships (2013, 2015).
Seven UA student-athletes have qualified for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, and Hardin expects more than 20 current and former student athletes from UA to compete this summer. The Paralympics is the largest international sporting event for athletes with physical disabilities, and it is held at the same venues as the Olympic games.
More than 20 UA student-athletes and coaches participated in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. With the help of three students from The University of Alabama, the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team won the gold medal in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.