New adapted athletics arena opens on Alabama campus

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The University of Alabama opened Stran-Hardin Arena Wednesday to a lot of fanfare and excitement.

School officials believe it shows how committed they to athletes competing with disabilities Shelby Baron, a scholarship wheelchair tennis player at Alabama, can't stop smiling about the new facilities she and others University adapted athletes can use as part of the Stran-Hardin Arena.

"Seeing this new facility it's kind of a dream come true and it's a reality," Baron explained.

This reality of a court for wheelchair basketball, strength and conditioning rooms and more are due in large part to $4 million in contributions from Mike and Kathy Mouron.

"This is first of the country of this nature so we hope it inspires other universities to follow suit," Mike Mouron said.

More donations poured in totaling $10 million put into this facility attached to the University's recreation center.

But everything here will allow 30 adapted athletes on scholarship and nearly 100 other wheelchair bound students to enjoy support to other athletes at the school.

"To be in this facility now they have things they never have really had before. Things like locker rooms and a high performing training room and an area where they can do their strength and conditioning," according to Brent Hardin, Director of Adapted Athletics went on to say.

The arena will open to the public for the first time on January 20 with a wheelchair basketball alumni tournament.

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