Parking at Braly Stadium changes due to construction

This map details the new parking options at Braly Stadium.

With the deconstruction of Florence Middle School this fall, parking at Braly Stadium on UNA football Saturdays will be slightly different.

The athletics department has been putting together a plan since April to help control parking on game days, a plan the staff seems confident in, said Game Operations and Facilities Director Matt Daniels.

The biggest difference from last year’s parking situation is the utilization of all sides of the stadium as opposed to previous years, Daniels said.

With very limited access behind the press box, as that area is now a construction zone, athletic donors and game staff will have reserved parking near the stadium.

The Royal Avenue tennis court parking lot is now a reserved spot for athletic donors of $600 or more, called the purple parking zone. The old student quad area will now become parking for game staff and gold donors, who give $599 and below.

With this grass-filled area turned into parking, the new student quad will be behind the south end zone on the old Florence baseball field.

Students will now enter the stadium through the baseball field gate in the south end zone, as opposed to the away side in previous years, said Athletic Ticket Manager Benjamin Ray.

Moving the student quad directly behind the stadium seems to have a positive reaction among students, said University Program Council Vice President Nicholas Smith in an email.

“I have been in contact with several students about the new area, and I have received nothing but good feedback about it,” Smith said.

Along with the tailgaters, there will be $5 parking in the outfield area.

“We’ve tried to think through and alleviate traffic flow issues and long lines at the gates,” Daniels said. “We think this plan will do that because it uses all sides of the stadium. We’re parking people in different areas to spread out the traffic flow and people flow so it’s as easy and efficient for our fans as possible.”

For the fans and students who cannot park close to the stadium, there will be four shuttle buses transporting fans to and from Braly Stadium from four different zones: Harrison Plaza, Appleby East and West, Jackson Heights Church of Christ and the UNA parking deck, Daniels said.

The four shuttles will no longer have access directly behind the stadium, the original drop-off spot.

The Harrison Plaza and Appleby East and West shuttles will drop off fans on Grady Liles Drive on the south side of the stadium, the Jackson Heights shuttle will stop near the north side and the UNA parking deck shuttle will let fans out at the corner of Royal Avenue and Hermitage Drive.

The athletic staff’s ultimate goal with the plan was to maintain its traditional game day experience, Ray said.

“We average about 9,500 fans per game and a lot of students as well,” Ray said. “We want to make sure we keep the best possible game day atmosphere that we can because that’s a large part of what makes UNA games so great. We think we’ve done the best job we could have done making it flow as easy as it can.”

For fans concerned about climbing the hill to home side, there will be golf carts to carry fans up, Ray said.

Ray said he encourages fans to buy their tickets beforehand and to arrive well before kickoff.

“We sell tickets online and in the (ticket) office all week long,” he said. “People like to wait last minute to get their tickets. That creates long lines, and that’s another challenge. If you get your tickets early, there’s gates you can go in, Gate 6 (and) Gate 2, where their aren’t long lines.”

Senior Hanna Littrell said parking issues should not prevent students from attending games.

“As a fan, I know a long walk or a long line can definitely discourage people from coming,” Littrell said. “But I think you should still support your team no matter what.”