The addition of a indoor practice facility is a little closer to becoming a reality after the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors discussed the project in an executive session during its quarterly meeting Tuesday.
No timeline for the indoor practice facility — to be utilized by football and other sports — has been publicly established, but Greg McGarity, Georgia’s J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics, said “we are moving very quickly, as quickly as possible.”
During the executive session, the board discussed a real estate transaction relating to the facility. McGarity said afterward that Georgia is looking to construct the facility within “this precinct,” near the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. He said the facility is expected to cost close to $30 million.
McGarity stressed that while Georgia is moving quickly, it is also taking its time to make sure it gets everything right on a project that has been on the wishlist for many years.
“We have one chance to get it right and we do not want to compromise,” he said. “This building will be here forever, so you have to think that way, in all areas of design, in all areas of communicating with all the users. That involves a number of our sports, making sure that we don’t make any decisions that come back to haunt us in the future. We want to get it right.”
At the last board meeting, in September 2014, $400,000 for initial research into the indoor practice facility was approved.
McGarity said the board also discussed during executive session the need for donor support for the indoor practice facility project and a committee was formed to determine the best funding model for the facility. Georgia recently completed a $12 million renovation of Foley Field, which included $5 million in donations.
The practice building is one of numerous projects in the works discussed during the meeting, with planned improvements on the docket for the Bulldogs’ football, basketball, tennis, soccer and golf facilities. The board approved $7,220,000 in funds requested by McGarity for those improvements.
At Sanford Stadium, refurbishing the Sky Club lounge area, as well as concessions improvements, will be completed in time for the 2015 season, McGarity said. The Sky Club and concessions refurbishments have a combined cost estimate of $3,705,000.
Georgia also is in the planning stages of adding two more courts to the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Courts, as well as renovating the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame building. Georgia, long called the “mecca of college tennis,” will next host the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships in 2017. McGarity said Georgia needed to increase it’s indoor facility to six courts to keep the Dan Magill Tennis Complex at a championship level.
The board also approved reserve funds for a new weight room floor in Stegeman Colisuem and enhancements to Georgia’s “Grab N Go” program that provides additional food to student-athletes.
McGarity announced during the meeting that Executive Associate Athletic Director Carla Williams, recently named one of the top 10 Senior Woman Administrators in collegiate athletics, has been promoted to Deputy Director of Athletics. In addition, Christie Purks (Event Management) and Melvin Robinson (Facility Operations) have been promoted to Assistant Athletic Director positions.
After 37 years with Georgia athletics, starting as a three-year starter at split end from 1968-70, Assistant Athletic Director Charles Whittemore is retiring at the end of February, McGarity announced. The upgrades to Foley Field are “the crown jewel” of the many projects Whittemore has overseen over the years.
Article by John Frierson. Frierson is a staff writer for the UGA Athletic Association and curator of the ITA Men’s Hall of Fame at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.