ATHENS — Georgia’s West End improvement project for Sanford Stadium is not complete eight days before the Bulldogs open the football season against Austin Peay. But relax, Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity, assures that it will be.
In a teleconference call Friday with the athletic board’s facilities committee, McGarity said all it lacks is the railing on Gillis Bridge.
“We’re in great shape,” McGarity told the committee. “We’re on target as far as fundraising and completion of the project.”
Georgia will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the Bulldogs’ new locker room, scoreboard and $63 million worth of improvements made to the stadium’s west end. The football team will now dress in the two-story free-standing building that connects the west grandstands to Gillis Bridge, better known by the misnomer, “Sanford Bridge.” The second story of the locker room is a lounge for entertaining recruits and their families. Starting Sept. 1, the Bulldogs will run onto the field from the west rather than the east, as they have since the 1970s.
The project included a new scoreboard 30 percent larger than the previous one and a plaza area that will allow ingress and egress into the stadium from underneath it.
Also during the meeting, the facilities committee approved $3.1 million in funding for a new clubhouse in Bishop for the equestrian team and will hire an architect to plan a renovation of the grandstands at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. There was no discussion about the construction of a new indoor tennis building, which is also being planned for the tennis complex. The total cost of the tennis improvements is expected to be about $23 million, McGarity said at the last meeting of the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors.
The full board will convene for its fall meeting next Friday, at which time it will vote for official approval of the all proposed projects.