Flowers Hall to undergo updates for Division I move

North Alabama women’s basketball junior KeKe Gunter shoots a free-throw at Flowers Hall against Alabama-Huntsville in the 2016-17 season. Flowers Hall has been a mainstay of Lion athletics since its construction in 1972.

by Associate Sports Editor Jacob Cole

Flowers Hall has been a staple in North Alabama athletics since it opened its doors in 1972.

But, the arena will need changes before North Alabama moves to Division I, said Director of Athletics Mark Linder.

Flowers Hall is home to UNA’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams, as well as serving as an event venue that has hosted concerts from musicians like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Alabama, to J. Cole and Panic! At the Disco in recent years. Flowers Hall even hosted an NBA preseason game between the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics for its inaugural basketball game and also serves as the home of UNA’s graduation ceremonies.

One of the more challenging aspects in applying new prosthetics to Flowers Hall will be the seating Linder said.

Once the seating design is structurally sound, UNA will visit with stakeholders and get approval from the State Building Commission to finalize the seating plan, Linder said.

With the changes, UNA is still looking to use Flowers Hall in as many ways as possible.

Flowers Hall holds a maximum capacity of 3,500 in the stands, but most of those seats are on the original wooden benches from the ’70s.  

“The floor is on its last sanding, and the seating is in need of replacement, regardless of our athletics classification,” Linder said.

The current hardwood was installed in 2004 and will be in its 13th season of use in the 2017-18 season.

UNA had already begun to review a change to the floor and seating before the ASUN invitation Dec. 6, 2016, Linder said. Along with the seating and floor, UNA will also have to be able to support the expected growth of Lions 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.

It will also require a production room and equipment suitable for ESPN, Linder said.

One of the more challenging aspects in applying new prosthetics to Flowers Hall will be the seating Linder said.

Once the seating design is structurally sound, UNA will visit with stakeholders and get approval from the State Building Commission to finalize the seating plan, Linder said.

With the changes, UNA is still looking to use Flowers Hall in as many ways as possible.

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

UNA is currently looking over designs for the changes with an unnamed architect, Linder said.

Once the changes have been approved, UNA officials will have to start looking for the funds to successfully get the job done.

After the concepts are set in stone, UNA will start to raise money to fund the changes at Flowers Hall, Linder said.

UNA has completed many projects to make Flowers Hall more innovative. The newest additions to Flowers Hall include painting a new three-point line in 2013.

Flowers Hall also serves as the main class area for the department of health, physical education, and recreation.

The Lions Women’s basketball team currently holds a 301-137 record at Flowers Hall, and the men’s basketball team has a 446-143 record with national championships in 1979 and 1991. UNA volleyball has a record of 243-34 and a national title in 2003.