BWA Upgrades

This has been hinted at for a while, but on the radio this morning Yurachek said: “We will have some exciting news to announce here soon about plans for the future of Bud Walton Arena.”

I know there are plans for more boxes, but I’m interested to see what else is in the works. Concourse facelifts is one thing I would expect.

I think they will include more premium seats, redoing the concourse, and making it more adaptable for events like concerts which would provide a revenue stream for facility rentals. The new arena at Texass will be available for non athletic events 300 days a year. Right now BWA is used for anything else probably less than 10 days (graduation and WalMart annual meeting).

Walmart requires access to the arena for two weeks. The high school and college graduations there probably account for 6-8 days of use.

Ok a little more than I had thought but that’s still about 260 days it sits empty. Now that we have a practice facility might as well use it for more non-athletic dates. I’m wondering though if they also might start using it for gymnastics.

I wouldn’t think that BWA would be used for gymnastics until they decide what to do with Barnhill. Barnhill is a nice size for the crowds that they attract. I don’t remember it being completely sold out.

I also don’t know how long it takes them to set up for a gymnastics meet. I’m sure that it can be done, I’m just not sure that it is necessary to redo it for each meet. Now once they tear down the old building, a new venue will be needed.

That’s what I’m thinking. The previous administration identified Barnhill as needing to be replaced like 10 years ago. I know HY isn’t the previous AD but the Barn isn’t getting any newer. Bama, Utah, LSU, Georgia and Florida all have home meets in their hoops arenas. So does UCLA where Jordyn used to work, and she may be pushing for an upgrade for recruiting purposes.

Also you could curtain off the upper deck for gymnastics and create a more intimate setting while still having 11000 capacity or so. For when Jordyn starts winning big…

I realize times change, and the basketball work out center (whatever it is called, I know that isn’t right!) changed things, but I remember a big deal being made out of the fact that BW would NOT be used for anything other than basketball and the annual Wal-Mart meeting. It is funny that now we are looking to make it available for other things. Again, I get that times change.

If I’m running a $130 million business coming out of a pandemic and I have a potential source of revenue sitting empty 300 days a year, I’m going to figure out some way to get income from that source.

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I don’t think that was the requirement. I believe that the rule was (is) that the venue must always be available for the WM annual meeting. It has often been used for high school graduations, etc.

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I am sure that is correct. I just remember them saying, in general, that it wasn’t going to be used for concerts, and the like. I think it was a recruiting deal as much as anything, as there had been complaints about not being able to use Barnhill for days when there was a concert, etc. Again, the practice facility really makes all that moot.

Strange arrangement for ut not having ownership of their new on campus arena & available to ut only for basketball & specific school events such as graduations. It is surprisingly small (almost half capacity of BWA) for such a large university & in a city of 2 million. However, ut fans claim they are not a basketball school. Based on their record over the past decade, questionable whether ut is a football school either.

With the growth of so many sports at UofA, especially women’s sports, surprised Barnhill is not needed for practices (including gymnastics) & events when BWA is not available. Barnhill interior still seems to be in great shape but assume the exterior is in need to replacement or upgrades - which are costly. Would expect a replacement equivalent facility would be even costlier.

I’d say $15 million from Bud was adequate to put that week on the BWA calendar permanently.

I would think Barnhill is perfect for gymnastics right now. They share it with volleyball, but that seems to work out. At some point, I’d think they are going to demolish Barnhill and build a gymnastics/volleyball facility that is state of the arts. I wouldn’t put them in Walton Arena. And, I hate it when the courts (for volleyball) are marked up with volleyball lines. You see that in the west coast basketball arenas. Well, I used to. Guess that’s still the case. Pauley Pavilion sure had all of those volleyball lines for a long time.


The biggest problem for concerts and other touring shows is loading docks, if my memory hasn’t failed me. I’m thinking there is only 1 at BWA?? Not enough for these type of events.

That’s correct. The tunnel leading into the arena can only fit one trailer. Most arenas now are built with the ability to fit multiple trailers, and concerts have several associated trailers for main acts and opening acts.

When the master athletics facilities plan was commissioned 10 years ago, the Bud Walton Arena plans included widening the loading dock into the arena and widening the concourses in some areas. From what I’ve been told, that master plan designs were pretty well scrapped after Jeff Long was fired, so I’d expect any changes to the arena to look different than what was proposed in 2011.

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You can put a temporary floor down for volleyball. I know UCLA does that at Pauley Pavilion. They may even have a temp floor at Barnhill that they could just move over.

I’m not surprised that Long’s master plan got dumped. But Barnhill would still need a lot of work, BWA still needs upgrades as well as revamping, and I’m pretty sure a new mini-arena would be more expensive than adapting BWA.

I can’t think of any other schools that built a whole new competition facility for sports like gymnastics. Either they use an old facility like Kentucky does, or Barnhill for that matter, or they put gymnastics, etc., in the basketball arena.

I do not like portable floors. They leave scratches and marks. But you could do that. I was told by someone in facilities that to upgrade and fix things at Barnhill is nearly the cost of a new place. Heating and cooling that place is really out of whack. No good answers.

My memory also is that they said at the time Bud Walton was built that it wasn’t designed to be used for anything else but basketball and Walmart.

Of course, that was nearly 30 years ago and times change.

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Just for fun, I looked up the rendering used for Bud Walton Arena in the 2011 master plan.


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Ohio State Univ. built the Covelli Center for volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling - pretty snazzy.