Revamped Foster keeps historic image

Jennie Kushner

The one-year renovation of Foster Auditorium cost $15 million, said Tim Leopard, the University’s assistant vice president for construction.

Leopard said the University and the Athletics Department both funded the project.

“The building needed work, and it was old and the mechanics and electrics were in bad shape and needed to be replaced,” he said.

Leopard said it was much more cost efficient to renovate the building than to try to repair the current problems.

The concrete frame and external visage are unchanged, Leopard said.

The renovation included new widows, a new roof, a 12,000-square-foot addition, new mechanics, new flooring, new scoreboards and updated offices.

The addition includes a new training room, public restrooms and visitor locker rooms.

Foster Auditorium will be the new home of women’s basketball and volleyball games.

“The biggest challenge of the whole thing was the schedule,” Leopard said. “We had to coordinate with the men’s renovations that were taking place at Coleman Coliseum and that schedule dictated when this building would be complete,” he said.

Cathy Andreen, UA spokeswoman, said Foster is a historic building.

“We were able to renovate Foster without changing the way it looks,” she said.

Students said they are happy about the renovation, but even happier the visage of the building hasn’t changed.

“This building has been significantly important throughout our history in the South, and our history here on campus,” said Harris Major, a freshman majoring in history. “I think it’s great the University can update the building without changing its meaning.”

Major said he doesn’t believe in changing history through construction.

“If the University did change the physical outside of the building, they would be changing history,” he said. ‘”I think it’s great that we can still walk by Foster and have the same respect for what happened on its steps.”

Sarah Howell, a sophomore majoring in public relations, said she is glad the University is spending money on women’s athletics.

“I am so glad to see the University spending a significant amount of money on updating women’s facilities,” she said. “ I am even happier to see that the University isn’t destroying Foster, but embracing the importance of the historical site.”