ATHENS — Another long-awaited and long-sought facility project at Georgia is finally coming to fruition. And it’s going to be expensive.
The UGA athletic board on Tuesday approved an overhaul to the west end of Sanford Stadium that athletics director Greg McGarity said would “not exceed 63 million.” But the school plans on fundraising the vast majority of it.
The board approved a plan to raise $53 million from private funds, which the rest coming from the athletic association’s reserves.
The project will see Georgia’s football locker rooms, currently on the east end, be rebuilt on the west end, with a recruiting area built adjacent to it.
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A new plaza will be built that will end up adjacent to the current bridge, which overlooks the west side of the stadium. There will be a recruiting pavilion of about 500 seats, measuring 10,575 square feet, on top of the student section.
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UGA president Jere Morehead told the board that between this project and the indoor facility that the football team will be at “a competitive advantage,” and thus looked forward to more success in the future.
The construction process would take 17 months, McGarity told the board, which meant construction happening during the 2017 football season. But McGarity said he was “comfortable” that they would be able to manage that. The goal would be for it to be completed the summer of 2018, well before the start of that season.
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This will be the largest facilities project for UGA in a long time, twice as much as the indoor facility, budgeted at $30.2 million.
A few other details about Sanford:
• The number of student seats is not expected to change, but some may be relocated, according to Morehead.
• The current scoreboard will move about 30 feet back toward the bridge.
• The visiting locker rooms, still on the west end, will remain the same.
• The Dawg Walk into the stadium will stay the same, only now players won’t have to wrap up the walk by trapsing across the stadium field to the locker rooms on the east end.
McGarity told the board that the athletic association received $36 million in donations from a total of 475 donors through the Magill Society, the fund-raising arm of the Georgia Bulldog Club.