Flowers Hall ready for renovations

Flowers Hall fills up during a volleyball game against West Florida Nov. 11, 2016. Flowers Hall has been home to the volleyball and basketball teams since it opened its doors in 1972.

Flowers Hall is preparing for a major upgrade in preparation for North Alabama’s Division I move.

With most of the bleachers and equipment getting older, the time for changes is now, according to UNA officials.

UNA athletic director Mark Linder said the improvements will be made to the hardwood floor, new seating, a hospitality area for donors, new video boards and Varsity locker rooms for each team.

The revamping of Flowers Hall has yet to start because of women’s and men’s basketball being underway, but Linder said the university hopes the entire project is finished by September 2018 in advance for the 2018-19 volleyball and basketball schedules.

Flowers Hall opened its doors in 1972, and it has been home to many teams and events over the years. It is the home arena for the UNA volleyball team and both basketball squads. Flowers Hall also hosts concerts, with names such as Tom Petty, J. Cole, Panic! At the Disco and many more over its history.

One of the objectives on the Lions’ agenda is to make Flowers Hall ESPN ready with the Division I move. A production room and the correct equipment will be required for the ESPN crews. Linder said the changes will benefit UNA.

“We are currently looking at the design of Flowers Hall and how to keep it multi-functional, while creating a great atmosphere for our students and fans,” Linder said.

The floor is in need of the biggest change, Linder said, with the last installment of hardwood floor finishing in 2004. It is currently in its 13th season, but it looks to be its last, with the project scheduled to finish in September 2018.

Senior Taylor Thaxton said the hardwood floor could be a danger to players if left for too much longer.

“After six to eight years, the hardwood floors start to become slick and are more likely to cause injury,” he said. “To prevent future injuries, the floor should be redone.”

The need for a new floor was in discussion to change before the Division I move to the ASUN was announced Dec. 6, 2016. The seating and floor are the main concerns, but Flowers Hall will have to support the growth of UNA athletics.

“Since basketball is such a driving force in Division I athletics, we also plan on creating a nice hospitality area for donors,” Linder said.

Flowers Hall will also have to keep classes in the building with majors such as the department of health, physical education and recreation.

Flowers Hall’s new upgrades will be up and ready to use by the time the volleyball starts their first season in Division I.