ATLANTA — A year after the University of Georgia's football team won a national championship, UGA is starting a $68.5 million project to overhaul its football stadium, making it easier for Bulldogs fans to get around and building more suites for premium donors.
University System of Georgia regents voted Tuesday to approve the plan for Sanford Stadium, which will be paid for with private donations and borrowing by the private UGA Athletic Association.
Construction on the first phase is planned to begin after the 2022 football season and the second phase would be built after the 2023 football season.
The first phase would build a new entryway and plaza and widen the lower-level concourse to make it easier for fans to get around the 92,000-seat stadium. It would add new concession stands, expand bathrooms by adding more toilets and sinks and relocate and expand seating for people with disabilities. UGA President Jere Morehead called it "long overdue"
"We're improving the ability of our fans to get in and out of the stadium, to have better services, to really improve the overall fan experience," Morehead told The Associated Press after a regent committee approved the work. "So it's all focused on the fans, which are the lifeblood of college football."
The second phase would build a new 154-seat press box on the southwest corner of stadium, add six new suites with a total of 125 seats and convert the existing press box into expanded club space for donors with 270 seats. The project would also add restrooms and a new elevator on the stadium's upper level.
"We've always had a tremendous demand for premium seating," Morehead said. "This isn't going to meet that demand, but it is one more step in addressing that demand."
Regents also approved a $26.7 million plan to replace the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Facility, built in 1979. The new building would include six indoor tennis courts, up from four. Officials said having six courts would let the university bid for NCAA tournaments. The work would be funded with private donations.