UAH unveils plans for campus expansion that would create a college town experience

UAH President Robert Altenkirch introduced a master plan for a 58-acre tract of land adjacent to the campus that would eventually establish a college town experience for The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The goal of the master plan is to transition this property into a new district oriented toward the life of students, faculty and staff outside of the classroom.

"This property is giving us the opportunity to create a signature ‘college town’ experience," said President Altenkirch at a meeting of the Board of Trustees for the University of Alabama System. The board met on the UAH campus today.

The new campus expansion will provide housing and lifestyle amenities, such as dining, entertainment, events, performances and outdoor recreation.

Features of the development would include:

  • Walkable Housing Options: A robust offering of student housing options that provides campus-adjacent living
  • College Town Vibe: A lively cluster of student-focused retail, food, and beverage options that builds the college town experience
  • Entertainment Anchors: The district will be anchored by a new multi-purpose facility that houses UAH hockey, basketball, volleyball, and events, as well as a performing arts theatre
  • Collaboration Ready: Providing office space for the Huntsville’s private sector, the district can increase collaboration and offer world-class job opportunities for students
  • Talent Acquisition: Enhanced recruiting and retention of the most talented students and faculty from around the world

Highlights of the UAH development would include an elevated pedestrian bridge across Sparkman Drive that would provide easier access to the development. The plan calls for housing for 2,000 students as well as 170,000 square feet of ground floor commercial retail development. A 165,000-square foot multi-purpose facility would house athletics, performance arts and community events. Another 3.5 acres would be preserved for parks and open spaces.

The school purchased land west of Sparkman Drive in 2017 for the expansion. It is largely an abandoned office park. The project would be paid for primarily by private developers, Altenkirch said. The multi-use facility could be funded through a public-private partnership, he said.

Dr. Altenkirch said he discussed the proposed development with incoming president Dr. Darren Dawson. "Darren’s reaction was, and I quote, 'The concept looks fantastic, especially the multi-use facility," Altenkirch said.

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Ray Garner


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