The University System of Georgia's Board of Regents today gave its approval, a required step, on two new fees for Georgia Southern University students.
The Regents approved a $25 per semester fee to expand Allen E. Paulson Stadium and a fee to help fund a potential move to the Football Bowl Subdivision, college football's highest level. The Regents' approval is required for any new student fee and follows a record turnout and approval by Georgia Southern students in September.
The stadium expansion fee will go into effect beginning next fall and will expire once the cost of the project has been fully paid. A date for construction has not been set, but the university hopes to begin construction as soon as possible.
In addition to the approval of the $25 stadium expansion fee, the Board of Regents also approved a $15 redirection of the current approved $154 athletic fee to be used to support construction of a Football Operations Center at the east end of Paulson Stadium. The new facility will house coaches' offices, team meeting rooms, locker rooms, rehabilitation rooms, weight room and the Georgia Southern Football Hall of Fame.
"We are extremely grateful to the University System of Georgia and to the Board of Regents for their guidance and support during this process. An overwhelming majority of our students voted to support these fees this fall and we could not be more pleased with today's approval," University President Brooks Keel said. "I have said it before and I'll say it again. Whether it is in the area of academics, research, sustainability, economic development or athletics, our goal is to take Georgia Southern University to the next level."
Following the student vote to support the fees this past September, Georgia Southern's Student Government Association President Dominique Quarles said, "This vote wasn't just about today, but to improve Georgia Southern for future generations of Eagles."
The announcement of the Board of Regents' approval comes only one day after the university announced that it had hired a new athletic director. Tom Kleinlein, the deputy director of athletics at Kent State University in Ohio, was named the Georgia Southern's new AD on Monday evening following a national search.
Expansion of Allen E. Paulson Football Stadium Fee ($25)
This fee will be used to increase the seating capacity of Allen E. Paulson Stadium by more than 6,300 seats. The new addition will add an upper deck to the student/visitor side of the stadium. Currently, the stadium has 4,000 seats dedicated for student use. With a record 20,500 students attending Georgia Southern this fall, only 25 percent of the university's student body was able to be provided with a seat during home football games. By increasing the capacity of the stadium now, Georgia Southern will be well-positioned for a future move to the Football Bowl Subdivision. The new seats, which this fee will fund, will be dedicated for student use each home football game.
In addition to football games, the expansion will also provide additional seating for graduation ceremonies and special events. The stadium currently has a total of 14,444 seats. Each spring, the stadium is filled to capacity and beyond with more than 23,000 family members and friends attending its annual undergraduate commencement ceremony. In addition, the university hosts a variety of other events at the stadium including last spring's concert of The Band Perry and The Fray.
Once the total cost of construction has been fully paid, this fee will no longer be assessed.
Fee to Fund Move Up to the Football Bowl Subdivision ($75)
This $75 fee will support Georgia Southern football's move to a new level of competition as well as a move to a new athletic conference. Georgia Southern has expressed interest in moving up to compete with other major universities in the FBS. Because the state of Georgia does not fund athletic department operations, this fee will ensure that the university has the necessary funding to make a move up when a conference invitation is presented and accepted. The fee to support the University's potential move up to the FBS level of competition will not go into effect until Georgia Southern is offered and accepts an invitation to join an FBS conference. The fee would begin the first full semester after joining the FBS.