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Alabama's Coleman Coliseum Gets Makeover

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's basketball team won't be the only thing at Coleman Coliseum featuring a new look.

There's also the lobby, the lighting, the paint schemes and the seats.

The Crimson Tide's basketball arena is getting a makeover in everything from the concessions area to the lockerrooms, with more restrooms and new arena seating also included in the upgrade.

"It will have a 'wow' effect on fans when they walk through the doors," said Thad Turnipseed, Alabama's director of athletic capital projects.

The revamping of Coleman Coliseum, part of the athletic department upgrades funded through a capital campaign, is scheduled for completion Nov. 3, 12 days before the Tide's season opener.

Down the street, Bryant-Denny Stadium's north end zone is also getting a transformation expected to be done by the start of the football season on Sept. 3.

Athletic director Mal Moore said the $26.5 million work on Coleman Coliseum is on schedule and long overdue.

"I took a walk-through a week ago, and Im pleased with what I saw," Moore told The Tuscaloosa News in a story Thursday. "Not one thing had been done to it in 37 years. When you have a coliseum that old, you need to update it."

Alabama's program has been worthy of new digs in recent years. The Tide, which lost stars Kennedy Winston and Earnest Shelton from last season's team, has made four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

The wall that used to obstruct the view directly into the 15,000-seat arena from the lobby is being knocked down, Turnipseed said. The concessions are being moved to the four corners of the lobby, which will have a higher ceiling.

A new club level lounge will open onto the arena and will serve food before and during the game.

A new lighting scheme will be installed inside the arena, diverting attention from the ceiling to the stands and the basketball court.

Cushion seats are being added on the east and west sides of the arena behind each basket.

The renovations extend to the outside, too. Two stone monuments sporting the "A" logo will be set in a brick circle on the street and a new entranceway is nearly done, Moore said.

"You cant build almost a brand new coliseum and not have it look nice on the outside," Moore said.

The improvements could also help lure more events to Coleman Coliseum. University Programs President John Griffin said the arena has not had a major non-athletic event since Alan Jackson's homecoming concert in 1998.