Becker: Turner Field proposal will move forward

Georgia State President Mark Becker said Cheryl Levick’s decision to leave her role as athletic director won’t affect the Turner Field proposal.

Levick, 62, announced on Friday that she is going to transition to a role as special assistant to Becker. Her last day as athletic director, a job she has held for the past five years, will be June 30. She cited several reasons, one of which was that she couldn’t commit to the time frame of at least five years needed to develop Turner Field.

Her announcement came less than a month since Becker announced that Georgia State, in partnership with other Atlanta businesses, is interested in taking the Turner Field area and turning it into a $300 million mixed-use development.

Turner Field, home of the Braves, would be re-purposed into a stadium to host the university’s football, soccer and track and field teams. A baseball stadium would be constructed in an adjacent parking lot. Dorms and retail space would also be constructed.

The next athletic director will help shape the plan.

“We want someone who can handle taking on project as big as Turner Field,” Becker said.

Becker shed some light on the role that he thinks athletics could play in the proposal.

He said the athletic director and the department will be at the center of sketching out what will be needed to ensure that the teams are competitive.

Changing Turner Field from baseball to a multi-purpose facility will require decisions to be made on technical details such as seating, expansion capability to host tournaments and/or regionals, as well other aspects of infrastructure.

“Athletics will be right at the center of all this,” he said.

Becker said he would like these decisions and the subsequent conceptual mark-ups of the results of those decisions, to be made by the end of the year. He said the timeline is still nebulous because the Braves hold the lease and the Fulton County Recreation Authority, which controls the land, hasn’t revealed a timeline for submitting proposals on buying the land.