Groundbreaking Ceremony February 23

The University of Alabama will strengthen its role as a leader in adapted sports when it formally breaks ground on its new multi-use facility for its adapted athletics programs, Thursday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. at the UA Rec Center. The UA community is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, which will be followed by a light reception. Direct questions to Angela Jewell at 348-4769.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama’s Adapted Athletics program soon will have a new home.

In early 2016, UA System Board of Trustees 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.

“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 current UA student-athletes qualified for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, and 22 current and former UA student-athletes and coaches participated in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. With the help of four former UA players and coaches, both the United States’ men’s and women’s teams won gold medals in wheelchair basketball at Rio. One former player and a current player, Babsi Gross, helped lead Germany to a silver medal in women’s wheelchair basketball.

The University of Alabama will strengthen its role as a leader in adapted sports when it formally breaks ground on its new multi-use facility for its adapted athletics programs, Thursday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m. at the UA Rec Center. The UA community is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, which will be followed by a light reception. Direct questions to Angela Jewell at 348-4769.