UNA’s $2 million athletic renovations are behind schedule. Over the past few months, UNA was remodling Flowers Hall from a gym building into an arena for athletes to challenge the Lions on their home turf.
In December 2016, UNA accepted an invitation to join the Atlantic Sun Conference, with football joining the Big South Conference, and transition to Division I status effective July 2018. Included in the responsibilities of being Division I are having athletic facilities that represent a school’s commitment. To do that, the university spent large amounts of time and money.
“We were hopeful to use the summer to get most of that work done but were delayed due to some design stuff,” said Athletic Director Mark Linder. “But [Flowers Hall] looks like it will be done by Nov. 1,which will be prior to our first home basketball game. Volleyball will have to work around some practice times.”
Flowers Hall has gone through seven major changes, all but one costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most expensive of the renovations is the replacing of seating, totaling $671,000. It is still underway due to some design discrepancies regarding backrests and positioning. Seating for VIPs is also being added, with a designated room for select attendees to watch the sports from the comfort of a special room, totaling at $500,000.
“The bleachers were too old and were beyond repair, so that’s why the decision was made to replace them,” said Assistant Vice President of Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney.
Visitors to the newly renovated Flowers Hall will also notice the brand-new court. It was rebuilt from scratch due to its age. The floor cost $165,000 to replace, which is a small amount compared to some of the other renovations. Gautney said the floors could not be renewed due to years of damage and refinishing.
Video Boards and consultant fees round out the final totals of the upgrades to Flowers, totaling at $185,000 bringing the total renovations fee to $1,521,000. Two additions were made to accommodate the ASUN conference movement.
In accordance with ASUN contractual obligations, UNA is required to broadcast all home games for several sports, nationally on ESPN 360. To do this, the school purchased a “High Definition Mobile Production Trailer” from ESPN and a “Compatible Camera Support Infrastructure” for a collective $604,000.
The University is modifying the plans as it sees fit. Students will just have to wait to see the completed product.