By Ed Enoch
Staff Writer

The University of Alabama System board of trustees on Friday will consider increasing the budget for the renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium by approximately $13.5 million based on higher than expected construction costs.

On Thursday, the board’s Physical Properties Committee gave preliminary approval for the budget revision and authorized a construction contract based on the low bid.

The budget would increase from $92.5 million to $106 million based on the construction bids received for the project in August.

Athletics Director Greg Byrne and Vice President of Financial Affairs Matt Fajack presented the proposal on Thursday.

The revision was part of a slate of athletic-related projects that also included revisions to the plans for the renovation of the John and Ann Rhoads Softball Stadium and a proposal to install a bronze statue of Joe Sewell in front of Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

“We realized this is an aggressive construction schedule we are going to be talking about. However, our contractors are confident. They have expressed they will deliver this on time,” Byrne said of the plans for the football stadium.

The project remains slated to begin construction after the 2019 season and be completed in time for the 2020 season, Fajack said.

The university accepted low bids from Premier Elevator Co. of Stock Bridge, Georgia, for the elevator package and from Daktronics of South Dakota for the scoreboard package. However, the lowest responsible bid for the main construction package from Caddell Construction Co. of Montgomery came in higher than expected.

The bids came in higher than expected because of the complexity of the project, the strict timeline for completion, and the current demand for construction services, Fajack said.

The latest budget revision reflects roughly a $30 million change in the cost of the project since it was first presented.

In June, the board approved increasing the budget from $75.5 million to $92.5 million with changes to the scope of the program.

The program for the project remains unchanged from the plans approved in June, Fajack said.

The plans includes larger video score boards in the corners of the stadium, a student concourse, more premium seating options and lounge and club space, the relocation of the press box to the east side of the stadium, upgrades to the locker room and recruiting lounge, a renovation to the tunnel that the team uses to enter the field, more elevators, and an extension of the Walk of Champions into the Game Day Locker Room via a new tunnel.

The overall seating capacity will be reduced by a few hundred seats, but it will still be more than 100,000.

Last fall, Alabama unveiled the 10-year, $600 million initiative called the Crimson Standard to upgrade the stadium, Coleman Coliseum, the Mal Moore Athletic Facility and other athletic facilities.

The stadium renovations, which were unveiled with the launch of the campaign, are part of the first of three phases of the 10-year capital plan.

“We have met all benchmarks for phase 1 of the Crimson Standard and our commitments for our premium areas are going extremely well,” Byrne said. “Our Founders Club and skyboxes are over 90 percent committed, and we are almost halfway to commitments on our club areas as well. We are very pleased with those efforts.”

So far, the department has raised $269 million of its $600 million goal, Byrne said.

The project will be funded with $48.5 million in bonds, $35 million raised during the capital campaign, $22.5 million from an internal loan of university funds to the athletics department that is to be repaid. The original funding plan for the project to be funded with $40.4 million in bonds, $25 million from the capital campaign and $10 million from the Crimson Tide Foundation.

The revised architectural designs for the softball stadium renovation would add new canopies over the entry gates and relocate the windows in the ticket office. The committee authorized a $2.08 million construction contract with J.T. Harrison Construction Co. of Tuscaloosa.

The bronze statue of Joe Sewell would be approximately life-sized and sculpted by Chip Taylor. The budget for the project is $100,000 and would be paid for with gifts.