The ongoing planning by the Athletic Association for the $45 million that will be invested to renovate the Alexander Memorial Coliseum has been met with questions as to the cost and nature of the large project. Although the construction will not add seating to the arena, the hope is to make the current seats more attractive to fans through the addition of chair backs on all seats and improved suites and boxes.
While the Athletic Association should keep in mind that it is not seats alone that draw fans to games, there is much about this renovation that is exciting. The quest to improve the box seats will increase corporate attendance at events and can play upon Tech’s presence not only as a college team, but as an Atlanta and national team.
A renovated stadium will also be a more attractive recruiting tool, hopefully improving our already stellar athletic classes, play quality and aesthetics. The building will also be brought into line with Tech’s sustainable focus, as the renovation is planned to meet LEED Gold certification.
As has been proven in many other athletic facilities, if you build it, they will come, and hopefully this renovation will draw more students and alumni to home games.
This renovation should not, however, be a reasonable excuse for an increase in Athletic Fees or the institution of home-game paid ticketing for students. This renovation has the opportunity to be something that students and alumni enjoy in the years to come without becoming a cost that cash-strapped students have to pay for right now. Charitable gifts and trusts, like the one made by the McCamish family, and corporate sponsorships and naming opportunities should be sought out whenever possible so that fans can be drawn into a great facility with a great team playing.