Auburn University Announces Plans To Build New Basketball Arena

The Auburn
University Board of Trustees approved the building of a new $92.5 million
basketball arena and practice facility Friday. Groundbreaking for the new arena
occur in the summer of 2008 with the facility opening prior to the 2010-11
season.

The arena,
with an approximately capacity of 9,600, will include over 29,000 square feet
of student-athlete space, a two-court practice facility, coaches offices, the
Auburn University Athletic Ticket Office, an AU Team Store, the relocated
Lovelace Museum, two food courts along with many other amenities.

“This
is a monumental day for
Auburn
University, the Auburn Athletics Department and the
future of

Auburn
men’s and women’s basketball,” said Athletics Director Jay Jacobs.
“Construction of a new arena will help our basketball programs compete for
championships, give our fans and students a venue that they can enjoy, and
provide a facility in which

Auburn

University can take great
pride.

“A
new arena is not only an investment in the future of our basketball programs,
but it is an investment in the future of

Auburn
University
and the community. It will provide a much-improved venue and will attract other
events the student body can enjoy in the years ahead.”

360
Architecture of
Kansas City,

Mo., has been working with Davis Architects
of Birmingham on the design of the arena. The firm of Robins & Morton of
Birmingham, Ala., will serve as construction manager. The 243,792 square foot
facility will be built on campus north and west of the existing Beard-Eaves-Memorial
Coliseum on Roosevelt Drive, across the street from the Student Activities
Center parking lot.

“The
new arena is part of an aggressive campus-wide effort to ensure that Auburn has
state-of-the-art classrooms, research facilities, labs, residence halls and
athletic facilities,” said Auburn University President Ed Richardson.
“Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum has served the Auburn Family well for many
years, but the new, modern facility will support the standard of excellence
that Jay Jacobs, his staff and Auburn coaches have set for our athletic
department.”

The new arena will feature chair back seats along with bleacher seating for
students. The building also will provide improved facilities for the
student-athletes, including men’s and women’s locker room suites with sports
medicine facilities, lounges and team meeting rooms. Along with a strength and
conditioning center, a two-court practice facility will enable the men’s and
women’s teams to practice simultaneously and while the arena is in use for
other purposes.

“This
is a gigantic step for Auburn Basketball,” said men’s head coach Jeff Lebo.
“A new arena shows a tremendous commitment to the future of basketball at
Auburn. Our program has made steady improvement, and this new arena will send a
positive statement.

“This
is very exciting for our players and staff, but also for our students, season
ticket holders and all fans that support Auburn Basketball.”

The arena
will have 12 luxury suites on the arena level that will not only open inside
the facility, but will also open on the outside of the arena for multiple
entertaining opportunities throughout the year. Loge Box seating will also be
available as well as on-site food preparation.

“This
arena is very important to not only men’s and women’s basketball, but to Auburn
University,” said women’s head coach Nell Fortner. “It demonstrates
Auburn’s continued commitment to basketball and puts Auburn at the forefront of
athletics, not only in the Southeastern Conference, but nationally as well.

“This
will be a beautiful arena that will help Auburn in many ways, including
recruiting, the welfare of the student-athletes and the ability to draw people
from the community to the facility for reasons beyond basketball.”

The
seating configuration will offer better sight lines and will move fans closer
to the court. The furthest seat will be just 43 feet in elevation from
courtside, compared to 60 feet in elevation at Beard-Eaves, with two-thirds of
the seats in the new facility being less than 27 feet in elevation from
courtside.

“In
keeping with the culture and character of Auburn University, it is important to
emphasize quality and excellence,” said former Auburn 1963 All-SEC guard
John Blackwell, who is the Board of Trustees Chair of the Property and
Facilities Committee. “The new arena will be another example of that.

“Auburn
and the design team worked hard to create an outstanding basketball arena which
will be one of the finest in the country,” Blackwell said. “I would
like to play in the arena when it is finished.”

The
scoreboard will feature a high-definition video board with full
message/information center technology. For the student fan amenities, there
will be a private entrance, a private courtside commons and food court and
court-side seating that permits standing with unobstructed views.

The new
facility will also serve as more than a sports complex. With over 12,000 square
feet of banquet/entertainment space, its design affords ready adaptation into a
site for concerts and other cultural events, convocations and other community
gatherings. On-campus student housing is being constructed adjacent to the new
arena creating a unique “student village” experience.

Beard-Eaves-Memorial
Coliseum is entering its 40th year of service to the University, while the new
arena will be Auburn’s fifth home arena in the 102 years of basketball. The
Tigers other arenas have been The Gymnasium (1906-16), Alumni Gym (1916-48) and
the Sports Arena (1948-69).
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