Alabama A&M University to open new event center with updated athletics facilities

A second new building holding the Welcome Center will open Thursday
WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 9:23 AM CST

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - After two years of construction, a new premiere Events Center will open its doors at Alabama A&M this week.

Alabama A&M leaders will host a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. on Friday at the large, new arena visible from Memorial Parkway.

Leaders say they’re excited to see what doors this new center will open for the university. The main function of the center is to bring state-of-the-art facilities to the basketball and volleyball teams. Additionally, the $52 million arena can be repurposed for a variety of events. The events center can host graduations, black-tie galas and special guest speakers, as well.

Alabama A&M Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Advancement Jamal Ali says other groups are already asking to use the new center.

“We’re already getting requests to use the facility or rent it for other sports like lacrosse and soccer, we could see Disney on Ice. We’re getting a lot of requests from outside partners who are looking to take advantage of this state-of-the-art facility,” Ali said.

The first event will be the upcoming basketball game against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 23.

This isn’t the only project coming to completion this week. The Welcome Center is seeing its own ribbon cutting.

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

University leaders opened the new building as a one-stop shop for key student-related functions and information. Workers broke ground on the project in May 2021 and about $7.6 million later leaders are opening the center’s doors.

It will serve as the hub for the admissions department with conference and dining areas along with retail space.

Some commercial restaurants are already calling the welcome center home. There will be a brand new Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks in the center.

Ali says it’s important for the university to keep building and growing.

“We’re about to approach 150 years as an institution so we have a beautiful campus,” Ali said. “So nestled in a hill we have some very old structure that were here when I was attending school here several years ago but we always want to see new construction.”

The Welcome Center ribbon cutting is at 11 a.m. on Thursday.