MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – After two years of planning, Alabama A&M University will finally get its wish: groundbreaking of a brand new multi-use facility. Students will add a new building to their class schedules in 2022.
“We have a fantastic opportunity for some development to take place on university property,” said AAMU Economic Development Executive Director Del Smith. “Specifically, we’re talking about the property located on the Parkway near Stallworth Drive.”
Big things are happening on campus
The land is currently empty, but the future landscape of Alabama A&M University will change. On Friday, the AAMU Board of Trustees reviewed the latest updates on the new 134,000 square foot event center.
“It’s a building where we can host our graduations,” said AAMU Finance and Administration Senior Vice President Clayton Gibson. “[That includes] our student recruiting events, our honors convocation – any other event our students need to have here on campus.”
Alabama A&M doesn’t have the space for 450 students who graduate every fall and spring. That doesn’t even include family and friends, but now they’re getting the space they need.
“We have to rent space off-site so that’s money this university can save going forward and can use that to help subsidize tuition,” said Gibson.
Another big thing – or two – are happening
Economic Development Executive Director Del Smith said that’s not all.
“[With] Approximately 11 acres of land, we have the opportunity through this ground lease that this board just approved for a Marriott to be built there – on about 3 acres of that land,” said Smith.
The hotel would come with retail opportunities like a Starbucks or Chik-fil-A. “Something along that caliber located there,” said Smith.
The school has enough land to consider adding a second hotel in the area. Gibson said nothing’s set in stone, but the school is discussing that option.
“It’s pretty exciting because these two developments [the event center and hotel] are pretty close together,” said Gibson.
The community won’t be left out, the event center is for you too
The event center is not just for students. With 5,800 seats, residents can also add another venue to their bucket lists.
“If you’re thinking about weddings or thinking about a family reunion – any sort of usage the community can get out of the building – you know, we’re pretty excited about,” said Gibson.
Alabama A&M University has two additional projects wrapping up by 2021. The school will repave high traffic areas on campus and renovate some of its academic buildings with better mechanical infrastructure and technology.