With ceiling repaired, further renovation ahead for Stegeman Coliseum

Commencement for UGA graduate students moved to Sanford Stadium

Commencement for UGA graduate students moved to Sanford Stadium

ATHENS – Georgia is getting ready to go big with Stegeman Coliseum.

That became apparent last week as UGA posted a request for qualifications (RFQ) and request for proposal (RFP) for what is expected to be a massive renovation project to the interior of the 60-year-old building.

Stegeman has been closed since March of this year due to an issue with flaking concrete falling from the ceiling of the distinctive parabolic structure located on south campus. The painstaking process of making those repairs -- which required saw-cutting concrete beams to realign hundreds of precast joints and adding a “high density polyethylene mesh” protective barrier -- is now complete and all the scaffolding that filled the entire arena has been removed.

All that is being done at this point is clean-up and putting the finishing touches on projects in the perimeter. That includes a new weight room for the basketball team in the ground-floor concourse area that used to house the track team locker room and a sports-medicine space and a grab-and-go nutrition area for athletes on the upper concourse.

The coliseum is expected to be ready to host fans for “Stegmania,” the annual preseason basketball event in which the men’s and women’s teams are introduced during an exhibition workout in mid-October.

Briefing the athletic board’s facility committee on Monday, Georgia Athletic Director Josh Brooks confirmed that they are “ahead of schedule” on the Stegeman repairs.

“Things are going very well,” Brooks said. “I’ve been in there and it looks amazing. When you walk in there and see the new work that’s been done to the ceiling, the painting, it really modernizes Stegeman.”

Georgia has big plans for the next phase. Last week, the Bulldogs sent out a call for construction firms to submit their qualifications for providing “a comprehensive master planning” of Stegeman and to handle the construction and implementation of those plans.

In addition to redoing the seating configuration and replacing the actual seats in the 10,523-seat arena, UGA wants to explore the possibilities for adding a premium seating and hospitality space in the horseshoe end of the Coliseum. Concepts that have been discussed before include walling-off the western end of the court to provide premium a sort of box-seating arrangement close to the competition area on that end of the arena.

Brooks showed renderings to the board of the directors at its last meeting in May. With the ceiling now painted all black, the walls and seats are also expected to be black after the renovation. The center-hung scoreboard -- which will remain in place this season -- will be removed. It will be replaced by a humongous video board which will fill almost the entire expanse of the wall on the easternmost end of the Coliseum.

The call for firms interested in undertaking such a project went out last Tuesday. UGA will select finalists on Oct. 12. The deadline for submitting proposals is Nov. 8.

The Coliseum is one of numerous construction projects that are currently ongoing for UGA Athletics. They just completed Phase I of the two-phase, $68.5 million southside renovation at Sanford Stadium. Phase II, which will add a tower in the southwest corner, will begin mid-November with a plan to be completed in August of 2024.

Construction on the new $23 million indoor tennis facility is well out of the ground at this point and should be completed in time for the indoor season sometime after the new year. Brooks reported that building projects are well underway at both the baseball and softball complexes and they are about to start a renovation at the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall that will redo the museum area on the third floor and dedicate the entire fourth floor to the memories of former athletic director Vince Dooley, who died last October.

“These next few months are going to be a very busy time for our staff, but an exciting time as well,” Brooks said. “In all my time coming up through facilities, I can’t remember is having this many projects going on at one time. It’s intimidating but it’s exciting at the same time.”