ATHENS Georgia football has been a work in progress since coach Kirby Smart took over the program, and the latest example is about to get underway.
UGA athletic director Greg McGarity has looked out his Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall office window the past six weeks and seen one load of dirt after another being hauled off the grounds.
But McGarity also sees a vision of what is to come: A state-of-the-art $80 million football building that will put Georgia football on par with programs it is competing against for championships.
Architect's rendition of UGA football building under construction. Photo / Photo courtesy UGA Sports
It has been a busy excavation phase since late December. That's when Smart's Bulldogs concluded their on-site Sugar Bowl preparations and the upper turf field and north practice field (nearest Lumpkin St.) were put out of commission.
"The first step was removing 20,000 cubic yards of dirt, which they just completed," McGarity said Saturday night while attending the basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum.
"Now, they are in the demolition stage, where they can get down to an elevation to start the sub-grade (underground) work, and they'll come out of the ground shortly."
Photo courtesy UGA Sports
The project is expected to be finished in its entirety by January of 2022.
It can't be completed soon enough.
The Bulldogs most recently ranked No. 8 in the SEC in football facilities, per 247Sports updated ratings.
Clemson's $55 million, 142,000-square foot football building, completed in 2017, is considered the new standard for championship programs.
Nebraska has plans for a new $155 million, 350,000-square foot football facility adjacent to Memorial Stadiu, as well.
Georgia has been playing catch-up since Smart was hired before the 2016 season. Since that time, UGA has built a $30.2 million indoor facility and competed a $63 million renovation on the West End Zone of Sanford Stadium.
McGarity said the new three-story, 160,000-square football building under construction will be "magnificent."
It will feature some of the finest locker rooms and weight rooms in the nation. This, in addition to much-needed coaching and administrative office space.
The building construction phase is projected to run through April of 2021. Then, there will be an estimated seven-month renovation phase to the supporting buildings leading to the January of 2022 end of the timeline.
"One of the exciting aspects of our job is being able to enhance our facilities," McGarity said. "And with the tremendous donor support we receive at the University of Georgia, we've been able to move at a very rapid pace."
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