Design & Development

University of North Alabama breaks ground on new stadium

Featured image credit: University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama has broken ground on its Bank Independent Stadium project, which is set to cost around $65m (£51m/€61m) and take over two years to complete.

The stadium will have a capacity of more than 10,000 and include the ability for future expansion. It will also include a premium tower featuring a new weight room, 13 suites, a stadium club, outdoor gathering areas, and multiple seating options.

The groundbreaking took place after members of the UNA Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution authorising and supporting the design and overall budgetary approach. UNA is based in the city of Florence and the university’s American football team currently plays at Braly Municipal Stadium.

The new stadium project has been supported by the launch of the Shine On, Gold campaign to raise $100m for UNA. So far, fundraising for the stadium has reached $25m, and officials expect to add significantly to that figure once the project begins. The UNA Board has authorised the institution to borrow up to $35m towards the cost of construction.

UNA’s athletics department also reserved funds for the project during the planning process and will make those available for construction. Stadium proceeds in areas such as concessions, parking, signage, sponsorships and ticket sales will also contribute.

The stadium construction will be accompanied by work on the adjacent baseball field and the UNA Spring Sports Complex at Cox Creek. The location will include a multi-purpose field and track that will be available for academic, athletic, intramural and community use.

The University’s American football and soccer teams will use the field. The UNA baseball team will also enjoy a reimagined space for the 2025 season that will include a new playing surface, an all-chairback seating concourse, a video board and an outfield wall that will resemble the ‘Green Monster’ at Fenway Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

UNA has partnered with Hoar Project Management (HPM) and Davis Architects to begin the initial work on Bank Independent Stadium. Mammoth Sports Construction has partnered with Davis Architects, and Birmingham-based Jim Cooper Construction was awarded the phase one construction bid to include baseball construction and stadium site groundwork.

UNA president Dr. Ken Kitts said: “The fundraising success we have experienced this far – and less than a full year into the Shine On, Gold comprehensive campaign – indicates that we have tremendous support and momentum for Bank Independent Stadium as well as for the other priorities that are part of the campaign.

“It is gratifying to witness the great excitement for this project and to note how it complements the growth and academic success of the institution as we approach our third century of offering educational excellence.”

Ben Henson, vice-president of programme development at HPM, added: “The start of construction of Bank Independent Stadium signifies a new chapter for UNA’s athletic programme and the City of Florence, and HPM is ecstatic to be part of this dynamic project. Bank Independent Stadium will be a transformative addition to the university, ushering in a new era of growth for the school and bringing best-in-class recreational and entertainment offerings to the community.”