Category: News

Stran-Hardin Arena – Open for Business

Stran-Hardin ArenaThe University of Alabama’s Adapted Athletics program originated in 2003 and has since developed into one of the premier programs in the country, winning nine national championships in men’s and women’s basketball and tennis. And now, because of the extraordinary efforts on the part of UA’s faculty, staff, alumni and donors, our Adapted Athletics teams will have a first-class facility in which to showcase their talents.

Furnishings and Design’s own Leah Shepherd was handpicked to be a part of this special effort and worked with the design team to make this a truly one of a kind arena. Paying special attention to the needs of the athletes, the arena minimizes transitions and doorways as well as providing spacious ramp access to the mezzanine. Additionally, the arena provides wheelchair accessible seating throughout its’ bleacher sections rather than having only one designated wheelchair accessible section.

Stran-Hardin With the ribbon-cutting and the grand opening now behind her, Leah has been able to take a moment and reflect on what the team was able to accomplish. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to be a small part of such a special project. It’s a joy to see the excitement on the coaches’ and players’ faces as they go through the facility. The pride and gratitude they exude for their new home is infectious.”


Great job Leah and great job Team UA for continuing to raise the bar in the commitment to excellence for our student population!

NeoCon 2017

trade show imageEach year, the interior design industry holds one of the largest and most recognizable trade shows, NeoCon, at The Mart in Chicago. The Mart is 4.2 million gross square feet, spanning two city blocks and rising 25 stories. It is home to hundreds of tenants, including showrooms of furniture, flooring and fabric manufacturers. This year was no different as more than 50,000 design professionals representing over 500 design companies met to discuss current trends and review the latest in commercial furniture and products.

Every summer, the Furnishings and Design department sends a group of designers to represent the University of Alabama at Neocon. The attendees this year were Mary Kathryn Holt, Simoen Warren and Sarah Lindsay Knight. The group visited showrooms specific to higher education as well as manufacturers represented on the UA System’s Furniture Contract. Visiting the showrooms gives the designers a preview of new furniture products, materials, and general design trends.

trade show imageUpon their return, Sarah Lindsay, Simoen and Mary Kathryn gave a comprehensive presentation to the entire Furnishings and Design staff, complete with pictures and information on the showrooms and new products being released. Striking the perfect balance between the latest in interior design and the rich traditions and standards here at UA is what makes our design staff’s talents really stand out!

Does your worn out furniture need a fresh look?

The University Upholstery Shop is committed to bringing quality upholstery services to the University community. Each year, our trained upholsterers reupholster over five hundred items for various University clients. We are able to work on almost any type of project – from weight room equipment to large sofas to office task chairs. The Upholstery Shop is able to help the University reduce overall costs by repairing old and worn furniture with new materials rather than purchasing completely new pieces. If a piece of furniture is broken or damaged, we often work with Building Maintenance or the furniture manufacturer to repair or replace the broken parts. So, if your department has furniture that is past its prime, consider using the services of our talented upholsterers to bring the piece back to life.

Furnishings and Design – Concur Reports

Are you a Concur Org approver? If so, you may receive a Concur report titled “Furnishings & Design.” Our office generally places orders for requested furniture items for campus, pays for the item using our P-Card, then allocates the charges in Concur to the FOAPAL provided by the client. Due to the fact that many furniture items are not shipped, and paid for, until up to 3 to 6 months after the initial order, oftentimes, approvers are caught off guard when they receive an email from Concur asking them to approve F&D expense reports.

If you should receive one of these reports, please review it carefully. A copy of the original vendor quote, the final receipt and a copy of the email traffic from the client authorizing the purchase and FOAPAL information is attached to the transaction. When approving these transactions, you are not responsible for all charges included in the report, only the ones charged to your Org. One way to know which ones are yours, is to look for the blue 3D paper icon. See below for an example:

If you are unsure, please do not send the report back to the user. Instead, please contact Dan Genest at 348-0879 or Kate Russell at 348-8433 for additional explanation.

Little Hall – Renovation complete!

Constructed in 1915 as the University’s first stand-alone gymnasium, Little Hall was named in honor of William “Bill” Gray Little, who is credited with introducing football at the University of Alabama. In 1967, Little Hall became home for the School of Social Work and remains so today as they prepare to celebrate 50 years in the building! Recent renovations to Little Hall started in 2015 and Kristie Brown was assigned as the project’s interior designer. Kristie worked hand in hand with Dean Vandiver and her team to accommodate all of the programming requirements while highlighting Little Halls’ classical style with elegant wainscoting and elongated arched openings.

The North facing façade is complemented by beautiful terrazzo floor patterns meant to draw visitors through the first-floor space and connect them to the South vestibule where Hall of Fame honorees flank the corridor walls in custom cabinets. The cabinets were designed by Kristie and are a highlight of the corridor. Additionally, the newly added third floor hosts a breath-taking event/reception space with exposed structure framed by large arched windows located on the North and South exterior walls. Once finished, Dean Vandiver noted that the new floor patterns are unique and dynamic, as are UA students!

Congratulations to Kristie on a job well done!!


Furnishings and Design Year End Deadlines

It’s that time of year again and the end of the fiscal year is approaching quickly. With the implementation of Concur during FY17, all purchase orders must now be issued, not just submitted, prior to September 30, 2017. This is a change from previous years so please make a note of this difference and help us communicate this update to any stakeholders in your work area. In order to allow enough time to fully design the furniture within the requested space, all Design Request Forms (DRFs) that are year-end specific must be submitted to the F&D office no later than end of business day, August 15, 2017.

In chronological order, the deadlines are as follows:

  • August 15: Design Request Forms are due

  • September 25: Purchase order requests are due to purchasing

  • September 30: Purchase orders must be issued

Please understand that these deadlines are in place to ensure that proper time and attention can be given to each and every space on campus. F&D strives to provide excellent customer service throughout the year, and especially at year end as everyone is trying to finish up their year-end projects. Please help us help you and plan accordingly so we can all have a successful year end closeout!

Did you know?

  • Leaning forward 30 degrees in your office chair to get closer to the computer screen puts 3-4 times more strain on your back.
  • A simple tennis ball can help you correct your posture and help release contracted muscles and tissues.
  • In a properly adjusted office chair, the arm supports should allow your elbows to rest at 90 degrees.
  • This and more helpful office chair info can be found at: Spine Health: Office Chair Set Up.

Stump the New Guy!

Furnishings and Design would like to welcome its newest team member, the Manager of Business Processes, Dan Genest. Dan comes to UA following a career in the Air Force where he held positions in financial services, budgeting and cost estimating.

As business process manager, Dan’s duties encompass all financial and support functions to include accounting, auditing and inventory management. So as Dan gets up to speed in his new role, the F&D staff would like to challenge you to try to stump the new guy! Send Dan any and all questions you’ve ever had about F&D but just never got around to asking. Ever wonder how we assign interior designers to each specific project? How the chair lab works? How many upholstery jobs F&D completes each year? You ask the question and Dan will find the answer. Feel free to call Dan at 348-0879 to introduce yourself and ask him your question, or email it to

How can I be sure my DRF was submitted correctly?

Several months ago, we initiated the use of the electronic Design Request Form (DRF). When you submit the electronic form, you will be directed to a new screen confirming your submission. You should also receive an email from Onbase ( confirming your submission and with a link to your submitted form. Our office receives the DRF upon submission and it is added to an online queue of projects to be assigned. Based staffing availability, your department will be contacted soon after the DRF has been submitted. If ever you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 348-6508.

Furniture Lead Times

The University of Alabama is happy to have a contract with approximately 165 commercial furniture manufacturers sold through 33 certified dealers. This contract, authored by our partners in Procurement Services, allows us to provide a variety of options to our University clients that fit a wide range of needs, budgets and purposes. Commercial furniture is made to specification based on client need; because of that, it takes anywhere from six to eight weeks for pieces to be manufactured. Then, per the terms of our contract, a certified vendor delivers and installs the furniture on location. That means it can take anywhere from eight to ten weeks from date of purchase for furniture to be installed here on campus. Because of this lead time, it is important to plan ahead – especially when there is a firm deadline.

If your department is in need of new furniture, you can get the process started by filling out a Design Request Form.