December 1, 1999
by Edmund Tsang
Row 6 of Section 211 and Row 1 of W5 and W6 in the new Mitchell Center on the campus of University of South Alabama (USA) are different than any other rows of seats in the sports complex. Row 6 of Section 211 is three inches lower than any other Row 6 in all the sections in the arena, while seats in Row 1 of W5 and W6 sit 1 inch higher than any other Row 1 seats in front of sky boxes. The net effect is that the seats of Row 1 of W5 and W6 are four inches higher than the seats in Row 6 in Section 211 when compared to all the other seats in the sports complex.
According to USA spokesperson Keith Ayers, the adjustments are being made on the Mitchell Center seating to "correct any line of sight problems" that were identified when the sports complex opened in September. Ayers referred further inquiry to Bernard Justesen in Operations and Facilities.
Justesen, interim executive director for construction at USA, said the adjustments were made because Trustee Mayer Mitchell mentioned that "the seats in Row 1 were too low while the seats in Row 6 were too high." When informed that this reporter has checked the seats in all Rows 6 and Rows 1 in the Mitchell Center and could not find any line of sight problem, Justesen said there is a problem "when a tall person is sitting in front of you."
Purportedly USA Trustee Mayer Mitchell missed seeing a free throw in a recent basketball game played at the sports complex named after his family, because someone sitting in the row in front of him -- his son-in-law -- blocked his view.
In addition to the staff of the Mitchell Center, personnel from the College of Engineering were also involved in making the changes on behalf of Trustee Mitchell.
When asked if USA would comply with similar requests to adjust the heights of seats from other season-ticket holders, Justesen said, "I believe we will. But we won't spend the money if we don't have to." Justesen added that he sees "nothing wrong" with Trustee Mitchell's request, saying it is "blown out of proportion."