KSU wants new sports facilities

A rezoning request will be made today.An 8,500-seat soccer stadium is among the plans.

Kennesaw State University Foundation will seek initial approval today for a new soccer stadium and sporting complex that could also house the Atlanta Beat women's professional soccer team.

The university plans to build an 8,500-seat stadium, according to land-use lawyer John Moore, who will present the school's rezoning request to the Cobb County Planning Commission. The Atlanta Beat is a start-up franchise that could use the stadium, Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens said.

The university also plans to build as many as six regulation-sized soccer fields and an extra field for intramural sports near the stadium, said KSU spokesperson Arlethia Perry-Johnson. There also would be a walking and jogging trail around a lake on the 88-acre property.

The site is on the corner of Busbee Drive and George Busbee Parkway and the corner of Big Shanty Road and George Busbee Parkway.

The county is in talks with the university and board of regents about how county residents might be able to use the soccer fields as well, Olens said.

"It's the sport that's grown the largest in the county in the last 15 years," Olens said.

The county could contribute toward the cost of the sports complex, considering that it would be cheaper to do that than to buy land and build its own soccer fields, Olens said. The county could also lend its Triple AAA bond rating and reduce finance costs of the project, he said.

KSU has an NCAA women's soccer team and a men's club team, Perry-Johnson said. The university would have about 567 parking spaces at the stadium, Moore said. KSU also has offices in a former shopping center nearby where fans could park, and it would run a shuttle bus from such off-site lots to the stadium for games, Moore said.

"This is certainly something that's very promising for the university," Perry-Johnson said. "We're a growing university. We need such facilities to meet the demands of our campus life."