ATHENS — Georgia’s long-awaited Indoor Athletic Facility (that’s the school’s working name for it) is already well on its way to becoming a reality. That’s evident by the hundreds of tons of dirt being removed from Woodruff Practice Fields the last two months. But the official ground-breaking takes place today as UGA President Jere Morehead, Athletic Director Greg McGarity, head football coach Kirby Smart and track and field star Kendell Williams dig into what’s left with golden shovels.
A ceremony will take place Tuesday at 3 p.m. on the last remaining artificial turf field just off site. The event is taking place in conjunction with the UGA Athletic Association’s quarterly board meeting, which will be conducted later in the afternoon at the Georgia Continuing Education just across Smith Street.
McGarity is particularly excited to share the developments on the indoor practice facility with board members. While the goal was to raise half the funds for the $30 million construction project through private donations, he’ll inform the board that they already have signed pledges for $17 million.
“So our donors have really, really stepped up,” McGarity said. “And there’s still so much interest and excitement around the building. For us to be able to go to our board meeting and be able to say that we already met our initial goal prior to the end of January was a huge accomplishment. … That’s been extremely encouraging, because it’s going to help on our future projects and everything we want to do.”
Here’s some quick facts on the new facility:
- Construction is expected to cost $30.1 million. UGA has received $17 million in signed pledges from donors.
- It is scheduled for completion in January of 2017 and is considered on track for that so far.
- The building will include a 100-yard football practice field, a 65-meter track runway and jumping pits, and a netting system that will provide indoor practice areas for other teams to utilize it during inclement weather.
- The new facility will be connected to the Butts-Mehre Building at the intersection where the “Nalley Multipurpose Facility” used to be. That edifice, part of a $30 million expansion project completed in 2010, had to be demolished.
- The building will parallel the eastern edge of Rutherford Street and be elongated in a north-to-south direction.
- Full dimensions of the football practice field will be 140 yards long and 80 yards wide. In total the building will encompass 109,000 square feet of space.
- When completed, the Woodruff Practice Field complex will include the new indoor facility along with one artificial turf field and two grass practice fields. Neither of the grass fields will be a 100-yards long.
- Georgia is the last of the SEC’s 14 schools to build an indoor practice facility. The Bulldogs’ building will be one of the biggest and most expensive.
- During construction, the 2016 team will practice at UGA’s Club Sports Complex on South Milledge Avenue near the soccer-softball complex. It will feature two full-length natural grass fields and one artificial turf field. They’ve also added lights, which will be turned over to the club sports program.
- Georgia still has one 100-yard artificial turf field on which to practice within the Vince Dooley Sports Complex and can also utilize the field at Sanford Stadium.
- DPR Hardin Construction of Atlanta won the bid and is overseeing all aspects of the project.