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UWA finds natural space for amphitheater

Future site of UWA amphitheater.

A sign marks the future amphitheater site on the UWA campus.

Project funded by state appropriation will open countless opportunities for outdoor engagement, entertainment on campus

Story: Phillip Tutor | Photo: Betsy Compton

An upcoming addition to the University of West Alabama campus will provide faculty, students and staff a unique outdoor space suitable for a variety of uses.

Construction is expected to begin later this year on an amphitheater nestled in a shaded hillside adjacent to Wallace Hall, said Chris Egbert, director of UWA’s physical plant. The amphitheater will seat 500 and feature a covered stage that students will see from the sidewalk between Wallace and Gilbert Hall. 

“The top portion of the seating will be very close to that sidewalk,” Egbert said, pointing to the main thoroughfare that connects campus from north to south. This section is the stretch that runs between Wallace and Gilbert Hall, leading to the crosswalk of Stadium Drive near the Caf.

With its central location and ample parking options, the amphitheater is expected to host concerts, theatrical performances, academic classes and student activities events. Funding for the project is coming from a $450,000 supplemental appropriation the university received last year from the Alabama Legislature.

“We have envisioned this project for a long time, recognizing that we had some natural spaces on our campus that would be ideal for an amphitheater,” said UWA President Ken Tucker. “With more than 600 acres of campus, we want to take advantage of the natural spaces that give students and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the scenic views, and this will be positioned in an area that is heavily traveled but still has an open-air, natural environment that we believe will be very enjoyable.”

Plans for the venue are underway, with a broad range of opportunities and accommodations being considered.

“We will be able to hold concerts and performances in the amphitheater, host different types of programming and student events, use it as an outdoor classroom, and several other academic activities. We are grateful for this appropriation from the State of Alabama and the opportunity to add this unique venue to our campus and serve students and visitors for many years to come,” Tucker said.

When work begins, temporary construction fencing will be installed around the site, Egbert said. A portion of the sidewalk in the campus’ center will be blocked off, and part of the Wallace Hall parking lot may have to be used temporarily for storage of equipment and building materials. Groundwork is expected to be somewhat minimal because of the natural lay of the land. 

Construction will start this summer, perhaps in May or June, and take between six and eight months to complete, Egbert said.

Artist's rendering of future amphitheater at UWA.
Artist's rendering of future amphitheater at UWA.