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We received a couple of questions this week regarding the construction project and other changes at Sanford Stadium. …
It seems like the ‘old’ scoreboard isn’t that old. With the new and larger one coming, do you know what will be the fate of the older one?
― AND ―
Seth & Chip:
Will they be moving the bulldog statue from the East End Zone to the new locker room exit at the west end zone?
What’s the plan for the non-permanent seats in the East End Zone? Will they build permanent seats that also allow foot traffic to once again move between the South Stands and North Stands via the East End Zone?
― Matt Cafaro
So glad you guys asked because the Georgia Athletic Board and those of us who attended its meeting received an update last week on the construction progress currently ongoing at Sanford Stadium, and we haven’t had the opportunity yet to share that information. As you know, the Bulldogs are in the midst of a $63 million project that will add a team locker room and recruiting lounge behind the west end stands. That also has resulted in a brand new scoreboard, two expanded plaza areas, additional restrooms and new ingress-egress areas on that end.
So, first, I’ll answer your specific questions. As for the old scoreboard, I’m afraid we’re going to need a moment of silence for that one. Nobody at UGA is absolutely certain what has become of it. Long ago installed at Sanford Stadium and last upgraded in 2011 to the tune of $1.4 million, whatever usable parts that remained of the old scoreboard when it was disassembled at the end of last season are now in the possession of Daktronics, Inc., the company that built it and the one that is installing the new one.
As for that new one, Georgia fans will be glad to hear that it will be about 30 percent larger than the last one, which was 36 feet by 73 feet. Athletic director Greg McGarity said it will be high definition and feature the latest technology available, both for picture and sound. McGarity also noted that the scoreboard, which had to be moved 30 feet west, closer to Sanford Bridge, is scheduled to be fully operational for the G-Day Game, which is set for April 21 at 4 p.m. ET. However, the rest of the west end will be inaccessible during that event as construction on the building that will go underneath it expected to continue right up until the Bulldogs’ season opener against Austin Peay on Sept. 1.
As for the questions about the East End, yes, the bulldog statue that was in the end zone where the team used to run onto the field will be moved to the west end. However, that exact location has yet to be determined. There won’t, however, be any room for it to continue to be a fixture for the Bulldogs’ entrance into the stadium. And, yes, the temporary seating that has been behind the hedges on the East End will be removed. UGA is looking into some premium seating options in that area, which is currently vacant. But, for now, it appears foot traffic will return to that area and fans should be able to walk all the way around the field outside of the hedges.
As for the rest of the project, it’s massive and it’s going in fast. Senior associate athletic director Josh Brooks gave the board a slide presentation, which provided details on the new building behind the stands. It will include a 5,400-square locker room for the players on the first floor, a 10,750-square foot recruiting lounge with 15-foot ceilings on the second floor and new plazas on the top and bottom. Access to Gate 10, which used to be to the stadium side of the bridge, has been pushed out to the end of the Tate Student Center parking lot. That has created a huge expanse underneath the bridge and around the new building where new restrooms will be added and make the west end more accessible for fans to enter and exit the stadium. Likewise, gates have been added to a plaza area attached to Sanford Bridge that will allow fans to enter and exit on that level as well. McGarity said that was designed to alleviate pressure from the Main Gate and Gates 2 and 9.
Again, the plan is for the scoreboard to be ready and fully operational for the G-Day Game and for the entire project to be completed in time for the 2018 season opener. Thanks for sending in your questions.
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