Barnhill's days are numbered

They just announced at the basketball game a few minutes ago during a timeout that the upcoming gymnastics meet this Friday will be the first ever in BWA. Wanting to set a new record crowd. Only volleyball is left now?

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I don’t think gymnastics is leaving Barnhill. This is a one-time meet at Bud Walton against a team that has a three-time Olympic medalist, Sunisa Lee. She’ll probably be a big draw.

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There is one meet at BWA this year, the rest are at Barnhill. From what I have heard, they may continue one meet per year at BWA in the future. We’ll see how that works.

I think eventually they’ll move them all to BWA. Barnhill needs a lot of work (or a wrecking ball), it doesn’t look like the mini-arena Jeff Long planned will happen, and it’s quite possible that Barnhill won’t be big enough anyway if Jordyn really gets things going. But IMO that won’t be until after BWA is remodeled, which isn’t imminent.

You look at the big gymnastics schools and they mostly have their meets in the hoops arena. Utah, Bama, Florida, UCLA, Michigan, the Paperclips all use their hoops arena. Misery still uses the Hearnes Center, which is close enough in size to their new hoops arena (13K to 15K).

Barnhill is tough to heat and cool. Inefficient and expensive are the words I hear.

They have a few offices there that are helpful but I’ve wondered if some could be absorbed in the new Broyles Center. I’d hope so.

You figure a parking deck would be best purpose for that space where Barnhill is located.

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When Arkansas unveiled its master athletics plan in 2011, there was a proposed 5,000-seat arena that would replace Barnhill. I don’t think much of that master plan is being considered anymore, but that was the long-range thought a decade ago.

That was the mini-arena I referenced.

Looking back at the master plan, it included the NEZ, the Smith Center, the Jones Center (although the eventual site changed), the O’Mara Center, the basketball practice facility, the Fowler Center and the Hunt Center. So a lot of it actually happened. The mini-arena was shown as west of the Baum-Walker parking lot.

A parking deck is more valuable than Barnhill on the campus these days.


I think of lots of better ideas for the money that Jeff Long tied up in the expanded Broyles Center (North End Zone).


Long will go down as an AD that made several poor decisions. Running off most that had ties to JFB was just the beginning IMO.


Going back a way to its origin, as I recall from my days as a student in '57-60 sitting in the temporary bleachers above the indoor dirt football practice floor, Barnhill heating and cooling was pretty near the outside temperature and humidity. At that time it was fortunate the Glen Rose version of a fast break was restricted to a halfcourt court offense where slipping and sliding from the dampness could be held in check. I suppose when Van Eman’s Running Razorbacks had those high scores, but still losing margins, some balance had occurred. Still, as Clay notes, the control of humidity continued to be a problem in Barnhill until BWA. I sometimes wonder if problems are not now presented to gymnasts.

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Gymnastics is fortunately a winter sport so humidity isn’t an issue. Their practice facility is climate controlled so they can train year-round.

Not to start a debate so much as to clarify. The floor in Barnhill since its initial construction has presented humidity issues when heating occurs without a crucial balance is not provided. I am sure there are a number of structural improvements that have occurred over the years to compensate for the basic problem of near one-third of the original building being below grade on the side of a hill. Unlike the old field house, it is not on the top of the Hill.

Sad, but Barnhill has outlived its usefulness, especially econmically. I have not found many college campuses where the parking is good, and don’t get me started on Jerry World. A few years back, my family and I waited 2.5 hours to get out of a parking garage just up the hill from UNC stadium after the App St and UNC game. I know parking decks take up less acreage, but during big events where there are only a few ways out, like in Fayetteville, it will be tough sledding with more cars in that area. Not an easy solution at all. Imagine the money UofA can make for the everyday usage of a parking deck. The student/faculty parking permits will bring in $$ like an oil well that never dries up.

Yep, they tried to give me a parking pass in the Stadium Dr parking deck, I said no thanks. I wanted 30 minutes to get out after a Covid crowd of 17k last year, no telling on a 76k full stadium game.

It wouldn’t make much difference where you park. It has taken me 30 minutes or more to get out of Lot 56 (corner of Razorback Road and MLK). I exit onto Stadium Drive and it has just been a mess. I think that is the price of success.

It can be difficult to get out of Lot 56 during basketball season even when the crowd is small. After several different trials, I’ve gotten a pattern down for before and after the game. It may not be always be the fastest but it at least feels like the timing after the game is more consistent for me. The Kentucky game will test that for sure if not before. My wife really enjoyed all my experimenting. She thinks I’m crazy for trying to shave a couple minutes here and there. She’s right, but I can’t help it. I like to have a “system.”

For football I have a pass in Lot 29 north of the stadium but I normally park at Leverett Elementary. We tailgate there. I think navigating traffic on the north end is much easier. After the Miss State game this year, I made it to my driveway in Rogers 30 minutes after the game and we didn’t leave early. I’m sure that was an anomaly but it was nice to hit that perfect window for once.

I like FB parking lot, close to the stadium and you can exit out the back way to Sang, and catch the light on MLK. I sometimes take the long way back to east Fayetteville, it beats sitting in a line not moving.

I have a funny story about my exit from the Georgia stadium. I thought I was brilliant in planning a quick getaway after the blowout loss.

I began to write in the first half. It was over after one quarter. I got a huge chunk written at halftime, more than any day game ever.

I participated in the post-game Zoom. Added my quotes and was done about 90 minutes after the game. That’s significantly quicker than I’m normally done for a day game.

I filed my story and made the walk to my truck. Everyone was gone from parking.

My plan was to drive to Tupelo for the night and have an Outback steak next to the Marriott.

I was on the road about 4:30, 3:30 central.

I sailed out of Athens, heading east toward the north-south loop around Atlanta. Boom. I hit the wall of traffic. And my plans all went poof.

I forgot that almost all of the 93,000 were on that same road. And all with construction zones. I’d come in from Conyers where I’d stayed Friday night.

I am usually never in post-game traffic because I’m always one of last to leave the press box.

I could have worked another hour at the stadium and made it to Tupelo at the same time because the traffic would have been gone.

It is one of the few times I felt the frustration of traffic on game day.

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About time for one of the chosen few to pay a small price… LOL