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Shoals economic boost expected during weekend competition, festival at UNA

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama will get to showcase its campus this weekend – and bring in some dollars to the Shoals community. Two large events, one regional and one that will bring in competitors from around the state, are expected to impact the economy to the tune of possibly $1 million. 

According to data from the UNA, that’s the figure the South’s BEST Robotics Competition and the Walter Trumbauer High School Theater Festival could bring Friday-Sunday. The Robotics Competition is three days and the Theater Festival two.

“We are thrilled to welcome the student participants, their families, and coaches to this historic campus,” said UNA President Dr. Ken Kitts. “Each individual has an opportunity to experience all UNA has to offer – from our theater and competition areas to our many gathering places. 

“Further, UNA is well-positioned in Florence and the Shoals so that visitors, when not on campus, can take advantage of the amenities throughout the area.”

Among those amenities include hotels, restaurants, retail establishments, and other attractions for visitors to the Shoals that will create a combined economic impact of close to $1 million. Combined, both events are expected to bring more than 5,000 visitors to UNA and the Shoals.

“These are high-achieving students who are likely to bring parents and other family members along with them to these competitions,” said Dr. Katie Kinney, Interim Provost and VP for Academic Affairs. “These would be students who may not have ever had the opportunity to come to the Shoals and see UNA and meet the people and professors here. This is also an opportunity to attend UNA and turn that high performance into a degree that results in a high-paying job after graduation.”

UNA is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering credential, certificate, associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; the Sanders College of Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions.

The university has more than 10,000 on-campus and online students. 

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