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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Alabama State University is one of the nation's oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The school was founded in 1867, and is located just east of downtown Montgomery, Alabama, the state capital of Alabama. It was started by nine freed slaves as a teachers college to provide an educational system that had not existed before. From these humble beginnings it has grown into a university with more than 6,000 students.
The Alabama State University athletic teams compete in the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) with teams such as Alabama A&M, Alcorn State and Jackson State. The SWAC is a member of the Division I level in basketball within the NCAA.
The basketball program is headquartered at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome on the ASU campus. Built in 1992, the facility holds 7,400 people in its basketball configuration. The Dome is named for two prominent coaches in the school's athletic history. The Hornets' basketball program has won three SWAC championships and participated in four NCAA tournaments over the years.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The concessions found at the dome are nothing out of the ordinary. The menu includes hot dogs ($4), wings ($5), nachos ($6), and turkey legs ($6) for entrees, with popcorn ($1), chips ($1) and candy ($1) rounding out the food selection. Beverages include bottled water ($3) and Pepsi brand soft drinks.
Alabama State does a great job of tying the facility in with the team name of the Hornets and in using the black and gold team colors of the school. The interior of the dome roof mimics the honeycomb affect found on the inside of a hive, and the roof shape also carries out this theme. The stands around the playing floor come in alternating rows of gold and black.
The action on the court is vital to creating an exciting fan experience. However, in the SWAC and at most HBCU schools, the bands and their dance squads play an equally important role in stirring up the fans. Music and dancing are non-stop throughout the game. This is very true at Alabama State, as the Mighty Marching Hornets and their dance team, the Stingettes, will definitely keep the fans entertained the entire game. The school's Hornet mascot also keeps the fans laughing with his antics.
The Alabama State University campus forms the neighborhood surrounding the Dunn-Oliver Acadome. The 172-acre campus has many historic structures of interest, including Graves Hall with its landmark bell tower and the Rosa Parks Memorial. There is controlled access into the campus, making it a very safe place to visit. The dome is at the west end of the campus, near the new ASU Football Stadium and the Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex. The ASU campus is located on the south side of I-85, while the area north of I-85 is primarily residential.
The campus is within walking distance of downtown Montgomery and the State Capitol complex. Among the dining choices close to campus are Dreamland BBQ, Baumhower's Restaurant and Wintzell's Oyster House. The nearest lodging can be found at the Microtel Inn and Suites, Days Inn Montgomery or the Super 8 Montgomery.
Because the arena is located on campus, you a large percentage of the crowd will be students. They are also admitted free of charge by showing their student ID. The rivalries (and friendships) between SWAC member schools generally result in good turnouts from the opposing schools, especially for weekend games. These schools all share in a mutual history of fighting a segregated South in their early days, which has created a bond not often found in college sports. You come and cheer for your team during the game, but afterwards is a time to socialize and spend time with your peers.
Access to the ASU campus is very easy via the Union Street exit off I-85. You will pass the campus if you are coming in from the east via I-85 before reaching this exit. Once on campus, game day staff and signage will lead you directly to the dome. Parking is free and plentiful around the arena, as students typically walk to the games from their dorms and residence halls. Once inside, the concourses are wide with no gridlock, even during the halftime break. The seating throughout the Acadome is seatback.
A trip to an Alabama State basketball game will not break the bank for a family. The tickets to Hornets basketball games are $10, or free for children under the age of 12. The concession prices are lower than are found in most NCAA arenas, and parking is free. Lodging in the area is quite affordable, compared to most metropolitan areas.
Just a couple of blocks from the Dunn-Oliver Acadome is the boyhood home of Nat King Cole. It is open for visitors during daytime hours.
The school has painted a legacy mural highlighting Hornet successes of the past on the concourse walls.
The Dunn Oliver facility also serves as the major concert venue on the campus. Amongst the talent who has appeared here are Earth, Wind and Fire, The Isley Brothers, Jill Scott, and Frankie Beverly and Maze.
Member Review by Ed Pelle on Mar 15, 2013
If you have never been to a SWAC Men's Basketball game, then Alabama State is a great place to familiarize yourself with the history and traditions of the Southwest Athletic Conference. Alabama State has one of the finest home basketball venues in the conference having opened the facility in 1992. The Dunn-Oliver Acadome is named after two longtime coaches that oversaw basketball operations at the school.
Alabama State is an HBCU and was originally established to serve the African-American community in Montgomery, Alabama. This region of Alabama is where the civil rights movement began. In 1955 Rosa Parks, who had attended Alabama State, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white patron. Although others had been arrested prior to Parks, her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A local Baptist minister, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. helped organize the boycott and soon became a national spokesman for the civil rights movement. Their non-violent protest efforts led to the passage of legislation that gave equal rights to all American citizens.
The Hornets have been a member of the SWAC since 1982 and have qualified for four NCAA Tournament appearances.
Member Review by jdj8806 on Nov 11, 2015
Great venue to watch a game...attendance is only good when its a rivalry game however.
One of the best arenas in Alabama
1796 Carter Hill Rd
Montgomery, AL 36106
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100 Gibbons Dr
Montgomery, AL 36117