The revival of the football program at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) has taken another step forward as the school prepares to break ground this summer on a $22.5 million Football Operations Center.
The University of Alabama Board of Trustees set the stage for construction to move forward by approving plans for the building.
Head football coach Bill Clark expects the new facilities to be completed by fall 2017, when UAB returns to Conference USA as a Division I football program.
UAB decided to drop football in 2014, but alumni and boosters persuaded university leaders to reverse course, and in 2015, plans were announced to reinstate the program.
The center will consist of a building with office space, meeting and film rooms, athletic training facilities, locker rooms, and a weight room. The complex also will have practice fields, one of which will be covered by an open-air pavilion.
"The UAB Football Operations Center will provide an elite facility that will give our team a competitive advantage in Conference USA and nationally," the university says.
Some of the funding for the building will come from Legacy Community Federal Credit Union, which has signed a 20-year $4.2 million naming rights agreement with the university.
The Birmingham Business Journal reports that several other businesses in the city have pledged funds to pay for the football facility.
Goodwyn Mills & Cawood is the lead architect for the project, and HOK is also working on the facility.