McGarity to ask for indoor practice facility for football

UGA athletic director Greg McGarity confirmed Tuesday that he will present to the Athletic Association board of directors at its regularly scheduled meeting next month several options for building a multimillion-dollar facility somewhere on campus.

“We will continue to have discussions about it at our fall board meeting,” McGarity said. “It’s going to be what I’d call an informational item. We’re trying to identify the most viable and realistic way to incorporate an indoor practice facility on campus.”

McGarity would not provide details, but in the past he has spoken of a $15 million project that would erect an 80-yard by 140-yard facility at a site next to the softball/soccer complex on South Milledge Avenue.

“Those numbers and locations are viable based on preliminary studies,” McGarity said cryptically.

The indoor practice facility is one of several the board will hear about at its Sept. 20 meeting They’re also going to receive proposals for improvements to the tennis and equestrian complexes.

In the past, McGarity has required that the UGA development office raise at least half the funds for a project through donations before it moves forward with construction. McGarity indicated those efforts are already underway.

“There will be a fundraising piece to this,” he said.

Georgia long has been criticized for not having an indoor practice facility to retreat to in the case of inclement weather or extremely cold temperatures. Currently the team goes by bus to the Falcons’ indoor facility in Flowery Branch in such situations. The majority of SEC teams have them, and Georgia Tech recently built one.

Recruits in town last month for “Dawg Night,” UGA’s elite prospect camp, competed in a downpour and Georgia’s past two Pro Days have been conducted in near-freezing temperatures.

Over the years, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt has spoken with varying degrees of passion about his desire to have an indoor facility. He has said he would prefer it to be on or near the current football complex, but intimated that he would take whatever he could get. He is expected to get a briefing about proposed plans later this week.

Logistical studies indicate a full-size facility couldn’t be accommodated on the grounds of the Vince Dooley Sports Complex on Lumpkin Street, which includes the Butts-Mehre Building, two 70-yard grass fields, two 100-yard field-turf fields and the Spec Towns Track and Field complex. Proposals to move the track and grandstands to another location have been snuffed by the university, which wants to keep it in its current location for students and faculty.

Richt was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

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