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University of Alabama Closes in On New Premier Golf Complex

Thu February 01, 2024 - Southeast Edition #3
Cindy Riley – CEG Correspondent


Construction on a $40 million project that will provide the University of Alabama with one of the premier golf complexes in the Southeastern Conference is well under way in Tuscaloosa.
Photo courtesy of Taft Drone Services
Construction on a $40 million project that will provide the University of Alabama with one of the premier golf complexes in the Southeastern Conference is well under way in Tuscaloosa.
Construction on a $40 million project that will provide the University of Alabama with one of the premier golf complexes in the Southeastern Conference is well under way in Tuscaloosa.   (Photo courtesy of Taft Drone Services
) WAR Construction Inc. serves as the contractor on the project.   (Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.) Challenges on the project have included supply chain issues and long lead times.   (Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.) UA’s new golf training facility for women’s and men’s programs is expected to be completed by July.   (Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.) Located on more than 170 acres south of Jack Warner Parkway and along each side of Kicker Road NE, the complex’s proximity to campus will make it accessible for student athletes and coaches.   (Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.) Crews broke ground on the project in April 2023. Some early packages actually began in November 2022.   (Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.) The work, which will allow the programs to attract and retain top student athletes, involves constructing multiple buildings, including a golf house and cart barn at the golf practice facility and a separate golf maintenance facility.   (Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.)

Construction on a $40 million project that will provide the University of Alabama with one of the premier golf complexes in the Southeastern Conference is well under way in Tuscaloosa.

UA's new golf training facility for women's and men's programs is expected to be completed by July.

"It's needed to maintain the university's tradition of providing top facilities for our athletes and students," said Jessie Green, project manager of University of Alabama's construction administration. "The nine-hole course is designed to be playable from multiple tee locations, allowing for nearly infinite course configurations. The practice facility includes a short game range with hitting bays. Top technology in the game of golf is throughout the practice areas for the team."

Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.

Located on more than 170 acres south of Jack Warner Parkway and along each side of Kicker Road NE, the complex's proximity to campus will make it accessible for student athletes and coaches. The Georgian Revival structures will feature brick veneer, limestone, metal guardrails and shingle roofs.

The work, which will allow the programs to attract and retain top student athletes, involves constructing multiple buildings, including a golf house and cart barn at the golf practice facility and a separate golf maintenance facility.

"This project takes a lot of coordination and manpower," Green said. "While completing design for the main building, UA opted to release key site packages to ensure schedule success. These packages required design teams to ensure the continued design would still align with previous work."

Crews broke ground on the project in April 2023. Some early packages actually began in November 2022. WAR Construction Inc. serves as the contractor.

Green noted that now is a good time to build the complex, which is touted as one of the most prestigious off-campus golf facilities in the nation.

"The programs have continued to excel, presenting a need for the facility. As commercial construction costs rise, a balancing act is required to marry up funding availabilities and project costs."

Green said those who will benefit from the construction are eager to see the work finished.

"Coaches have been very engaged since design start through construction. They are excited for what this facility will allow their programs to do. Feedback from current and prospective student athletes have been very positive.

"It's a one-of-a-kind facility that keeps true to UA's traditional architecture style, while blending in top technology for the athletes. The façade of the building was crafted using handmade, approximately 100-year-old salvaged brick from another area of campus."

Challenges on the project have included supply chain issues and long lead times. All of the electrical panels and mechanical units had to be procured prior to design completion to have them on site for construction.

According to Green, work will begin in February on the comfort station. Rough shaping on the nine-hole course with irrigation has begun, allowing sod and grassing to begin. Building dry-in is already complete, as well as the entrance road to the main parking lot.

Façade and interior fitout throughout the three buildings is under way. Key tasks remaining include custom millwork and finishes, as well as the crossing from the practice facility to the course. A project was recently bid to change at-grade crossing to a tunnel that will travel under both the road and railroad.

Regarding early site work/excavation, power was designed to be fed to the building underground to maintain the charm of the facility. To assist Alabama Power (APCO) in completing this request, UA released an early package to install the underground path from APCO ROW to the building. This required a combination of bores and trenches for nearly 2,000 ft.

Prior to the main package, UA land management issued a bid for clearing once the extent of the project was set.

The tunnel scope would require heavy site work and excavation. In order to install, the entire 150-ft. length would have to be open cut excavated to 20 ft. below grade and box culvert sections set and backfilled.

Total usable land for the facility is 164 acres. Once completed, 100 of those acres will have been moved between utility excavations or course shaping. The project has imported 75,000 cu. yds. of fill, with the rest balanced within the site.

To date, the elements have not been a major concern for crews.

Photo courtesy of WAR Construction Inc.

"Thus far, impacts have been minimal. Roof dry-in was completed prior to heavy rain. The recent cold weather did prevent some work due to road navigation. The schedule was thought out to align with the typical Alabama weather, as it's critical for seeding and sod to grow in during the proper time of year."

Heavy equipment being used to build the complex includes a Caterpillar 325 trackhoe, John Deere 850 dozer, skid steer, manlifts, forklifts and a Morooka track dump truck. Main materials include steel structure for the main building and maintenance building with a brick/metal panel façade. Construction includes a stick-built cart barn and comfort station with Hardie board façade. Crews are using millwork throughout the interior.

As for the most time-consuming part of the work, Green said, "This is not a typical project for UA, and has required an increased amount of collaboration. From programming to construction, there has been a large learning curve for the entire team involved."

Despite the challenges, Green said working on a project that will take university golfing to the next level is truly rewarding.

"It's great to hear each time the coaches provide the feedback they've received from their teams and prospective players. It's very exciting. As the building takes shape and begins looking more and more like the early renderings, it makes all the work worthwhile." CEG




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