Georgia football to move into new $80M facility after G-Day

The $80 Georgia football addition to the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall complex in Athens in nearly complete. (Photo by Tony Walsh of UGA)
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The $80 Georgia football addition to the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall complex in Athens in nearly complete. (Photo by Tony Walsh of UGA)

Credit: Tony Walsh

Credit: Tony Walsh

ATHENS – “On time and on budget.”

Those were the two most important updates provided by Georgia Athletic Director Josh Brooks to Georgia Athletic Association facilities and development committee in a brief video conference call Monday afternoon. The meeting was scheduled in advance of next week’s winter meeting of the full board of directors.

Brooks said construction on “Phase I” of the new $80 million football building that is being added to the existing Butts-Mehre athletics complex will be completed “mid- to late-April,” as planned. Players and coaches are scheduled to move into the new facility the week after the G-Day game, which is April 17.

“So it’s timing up very well where we’ll get through spring ball and then move into those spaces,” Brooks said.

At that point, the 165,000 square-foot facility is supposed to be about 75 percent complete, according to Brooks, and will include the new 22,000-square foot weight room, locker rooms, equipment rooms, nutrition and sports medicine areas and coaches’ offices

Phase II, which will contain more offices, dining areas and meeting rooms, is scheduled to open in January of 2022.

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“The construction crew of DPR have been managing that jobsite phenomenally,” said Brooks, who’s fourth-floor office overlooks the construction zone. “Just from my standpoint, it’s one of the cleanest, most organized job sites I’ve ever been a part of. I’m really thankful for their work, even through COVID, as they’ve been pressing on.”

Brooks did not provide a fundraising update other than to say it’s “going extremely well.” At last report, Georgia said its development staff had raised about 70 percent of the total in donations and pledges. The majority of it is coming from the Magill Society Members.

Stephanie Ransom, UGA Athletics’ director of business operations, said a complete update will be provided to the full board at its Feb. 16 meeting.

The football building is currently the only on-going construction project in athletics. It represents more than $175 million in football-facility improvements the Bulldogs have undergone since Kirby Smart became coach before the 2016 season.

Brooks said no other projects currently are being planned. Last year, Georgia completed $9 million in construction on new competition facilities for men’s and women’s tennis and equestrian.

UGA, which has a $151 million budget for Fiscal Year 2021, is expecting a shortfall of about $55 million due to effects of the coronavirus. Brooks lauded Georgia’s facilities and building services staffs for making the Bulldogs one of the success stories during the pandemic.

“Since March of 2020, they’ve been working long, long hours on the front lines to keep our buildings clean and safe with plans of controlling access and keeping everything sanitized and sterilized and providing everybody the equipment they need to keep everybody safe,” Brooks said. “That’s been part of our story of our success as we’ve been able to keep our student-athletes safe and been able to keep COVID from being a major issue within our department.”