Dedicated on Dec. 3, 1988, Bartow Arena serves as the home of the UAB men's and women's basketball teams and the Blazer volleyball team.
Originally called UAB Arena, the building was re-named Bartow Arena on Jan. 25, 1997 in honor of Gene Bartow, the "Father of UAB Athletics." The legendary Bartow served as UAB's first athletic director from 1977 until his retirement in 2000, taking the Blazers from their infancy into a 17-sport athletic program. He coached the UAB men's basketball team from its inception until 1996.
The arena features a spacious 18,000-square feet of floor space with the lower-level seats retracted (enough room for three full basketball or volleyball courts). There is a permanent floor and a portable hardwood floor for basketball. There are a total of 8,500 seats for basketball (6,500 permanent, 2,000 retractable) and a maximum capacity of 9,000.
In addition to the main floor and seating areas, Bartow Arena houses administrative offices, locker areas and athletic training rooms. It is also the home of the Green and Gold Room, the site for various university-related functions.
The changes to the building over the last few years include new state-of-the-art video boards in addition to the administrative towers annex, a new state-of-the-art men's basketball locker room, a new paint scheme for both the permanent and portable floors and major renovations to the Green and Gold Room and Champion Club Room. In 2011, the lower bowl of seats was replaced with state-of-the-art retractable seating.
Bartow Arena was the site of the 1991 Sun Belt Conference and the 1996 Conference USA women's basketball championships. It was also the site of the 1988 Sun Belt Conference Championship and the 1993 Great Midwest Conference volleyball championships.
In addition to the three teams that compete in the facility, Bartow Arena houses locker rooms for most other UAB athletic teams.
An extremely versatile facility, Bartow Arena has hosted commencement ceremonies and convocations, concerts of all types, lectures, special appearances by celebrities such as Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and President Barack Obama.
On Feb. 16, 2008, an arena record crowd of 9,392 watched as the Blazer men's basketball team battled then-No. 1 Memphis.