The design concept for Birmingham’s new stadium have been approved. (BJCC)
BIRMINGHAM, AL — While the naysayers may still not believe it, a new stadium really is being built in downtown Birmingham, and the design concept and site plan for that stadium was approved Wednesday by the Birmingham Design Review Committee. Protective Stadium will seat 45,000 people and will be home to UAB football and other events.
The concept features some historic ties to Birmingham, such as a scoreboard tower that has similarities to the original tower at Legion Field, according to a report by the Birmingham Business Journal. The front entrance features removable security, allowing people to move around freely and utilize some spaces when games aren’t taking place.
The final design will be up for approval at a later date, and the stadium and structures that are part of it may change as the design team continues to develop the look.
Bidding recently opened for a mass grading contract that will be awarded at the BJCC Authority’s next meeting on June 19. Once that contract is awarded, dirt will start being moved at the stadium site.
Ground was broken for the stadium in December of 2018, and is supposed to open in time for the 2021 World Games. and the 2021 UAB football season.
Funding for the stadium has come from a variety of sources. The Birmingham City Council in March of last year voted to approve a resolution that would commit $90 million over 30 years toward the new stadium. The city’s pledge added to the BJCC Authority’s $10.7 million to the annual debt service on the project. The Jefferson County Commissison has committed $1 million a year for 30 years.
UAB and corporate partners have committed to a combined $4 million a year for 10 years through a lease agreement, sponsorship and naming rights. The state legislature also approved a bill that would use car rental tax funds to help pay for the stadium.
In addition to UAB football games, the new stadium also opens the door for events such as neutral site college football games, concerts and other events.