HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The University of Alabama in Huntsville announced plans to create a signature "college experience" for its faculty and students.
The university plans to turn 58 acres of recently acquired land across Sparkman Drive from the Bevill Center into a new district focused on student and faculty life outside of the classroom. The district will feature new student housing, retail, food options. A multipurpose facility will house UAH hockey, basketball, volleyball performing arts theatre and other events.
Ray Garner, UAH's chief of staff, says it will be a place students can go to socialize and shop.
"The present campus doesn't really have a town center for students. You've got the strip at Alabama, you've got Toomer's corner, so what we wanted to do was create a town center for UAH students," said Garner.
The district will also provide office space for Huntsville's private sector, increase collaboration, and offer world-class job opportunities for students.
UAH conducted a survey on campus over the course of eight days that found students viewed the development as "a place that they would live multiple years during their college experience."
Those same parties also spoke to the need for an on-campus event space. The hockey team currently plays its home games at Von Braun Center about four miles from campus in downtown Huntsville.
UAH's President, Robert Altenkirch, says if you look at the campus, it's easy to see that they need a town center.
"If you look at the boundaries of UAH, to the south is 565. To the east is a residential community. To the west is Research Park, and to the north is an eight lane U.S. highway. there are no amentities surrounding the campus," said Altenkirch.
- A pedestrian bridge over Sparkman Drive that would connect the core campus to the new development.
- Housing that would serve 2,000 students.
- 170,000 square feet of commercial retail.
- A 165,000 square feet multi-purpose facility that would be used for athletics, performance arts, and community events.
- 3.5 acres of parks and open spaces.
View the entire Master Plan here: