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Alabama College Finds Natural Space On Which to Build Multi-Use Amphitheater

Wed March 22, 2023 - Southeast Edition
University of West Alabama News & CEG

An artist's rendering of future amphitheater at UWA. (Courtesy of The University of West Alabama)
An artist's rendering of future amphitheater at UWA. (Courtesy of The University of West Alabama)

An upcoming addition to the University of West Alabama (UWA) campus will give the Livingston school's faculty, students and staff a unique outdoor space suitable for a variety of uses.

Construction is expected to begin later this year on an amphitheater nestled in a shaded hillside next to Wallace Hall, said Chris Egbert, director of UWA's physical plant. The amphitheater will seat 500 and feature a covered stage that students will be able to see from the sidewalk between Wallace and Gilbert Hall.

"The top portion of the seating will be very close to that sidewalk," Egbert said as he pointed to the main thoroughfare that runs through the campus from north to south. This section is the stretch that runs between Wallace and Gilbert Hall, leading to the crosswalk of Tiger Stadium Drive near the Young Hall Cafeteria.

Plans for how the venue will be used are currently under way, with a broad range of opportunities and accommodation being considered, by the college.

With its central location and ample parking options, the future amphitheater is expected to host concerts, theatrical performances, academic classes and student activities events.

"We have envisioned this project for a long time, recognizing that we had some natural spaces on our campus that would be ideal for an amphitheater," explained UWA President Ken Tucker. "With more than 600 acres of campus, we want to take advantage of the natural spaces that give students and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the scenic views, and this will be positioned in an area that is heavily traveled but still has an open-air, natural environment that we believe will be very enjoyable."

Work Could Begin Shortly

Funding for the project is coming from a $450,000 supplemental appropriation the university received in 2022 from the Alabama Legislature.

"We are grateful for this appropriation from the state and the opportunity to add this unique venue to our campus and serve students and visitors for many years to come," Tucker added.

Construction will start this summer, possibly as early as May or June, and take between six and eight months to complete, Egbert said.

When work does occur, he noted, temporary construction fencing will be installed around the site. Additionally, a portion of the sidewalk in the center of the UWA campus will be blocked off, and part of the Wallace Hall parking lot may need to be used temporarily for storing construction equipment and building materials. Groundwork is expected to be minimal because of the natural lay of the land.

The University of West Alabama is a public university in Livingston, a small Southern town with approximately 3,500 residents just a few miles east of the Mississippi border in south-central Alabama. Founded in 1835, the school began as a church-supported school for young women called Livingston Female Academy.

Today, UWA has an enrollment of about 5,100 students and attracts both men and women to its more than 60 undergraduate programs and 10 graduate programs through its academic colleges and divisions at the bachelor's, master's, educational specialist and educational doctorate levels.

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