ATHENS — Yes, it really is happening. Construction has begun and ground has been broken for Georgia’s long-awaited indoor facility.
There was no grand ceremony, due apparently to the coaching change, but a visitor to the Butts-Mehre athletic building this week would encounter the work being done. And it’s not subtle.
A side street in between the Butts-Mehre and baseball’s Foley Field has been closed off for purposes of construction. At least two excavators were on the scene of the upper practice field, while more work was being done on one of the lower fields. The current Nalley Auditorium, which is a smaller indoor facility built in 2007, is due to be razed to make room for the larger, “transformational” indoor facility, as it’s being called.
A sign at the site cites DPR Hardin, a construction company out of Atlanta.
The budget for the project is $30.2 million, and it is supposed to be ready for use early next year. New head coach Kirby Smart will have to bus his team to a site at the outskirts of campus, off Milledge Avenue, for practices all season.
The facility does not have a name yet. It is not believed that it will be named for former head coach Mark Richt, who long clamored for it. The name “Jeremy Pruitt Memorial Indoor Facility” also does not appear to be under consideration.