Sanford Stadium West End Zone Project Approved
A major enhancement to the west end zone of Sanford Stadium — 120,000 square feet of new and improved space that will include a new locker room for the Bulldogs, room to host and entertain prospects on game day, a larger video board and a new plaza for game day fans — was approved by the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors during its quarterly Tuesday, February 14, 2017.
The construction project, which is expected to take approximately 17 months to complete, is estimated to cost $63 million. In order for the enhancements to be ready for the 2018 football season, initial work needs to begin by April of 2017, according to J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity.
The West End Zone project is the next step in the enhancement of Sanford Stadium. This project is unique to Georgia and to Sanford Stadium.
J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity
“The West End Zone project is the next step in the enhancement of Sanford Stadium,” McGarity said. “This project is unique to Georgia and to Sanford Stadium. It really focuses on the locker room and the recruiting space, which will be usable by so many units of the university at certain times. It also covers many areas of fan amenities: rest rooms, concession points of sale opportunities. I think for those of us that lived through Reed Alley in its original form — and now Reed Plaza — they can see what a tremendous impact it has had on the fans’ experience. I believe that this project will have a similarly positive effect on the fans that enter Sanford Stadium from the west end.”
The Georgia football team currently occupies a dressing room at the opposite (east) end of Sanford Stadium, and the Bulldogs use it only as a staging room for pre-game, halftime and post-game activities. When completed, the new dressing room at the west end will offer fully-equipped locker and shower facilities for the Bulldogs, nearly doubling the amount of available square footage.
Directly above the new locker room will be a hospitality lounge, covering over 10,500 square feet, used exclusively for hosting prospects and their guests on game days. The lounge will be the first of its kind at Sanford Stadium for the Georgia football program.
The new plaza — replacing all existing entrances into the stadium’s west end — will offer fans a dramatically improved game-day experience.
Some details of the overall project include:
- Locker room square footage — Existing: 2,774; New: 5,400
- Recruiting hospitality lounge square footage: 10,574
- New upper plaza square footage: 11,539
- Expanded and enhanced concession and restroom facilities
- Video board size — Existing: 75’ x 46’; New: 100’ x 52’
“(Regarding fundraising) I think we’ve just scratched the surface,” McGarity said. “Our fans have been fantastic. We have 16,000 season ticket holders, and there are naming opportunities, both in the Indoor Athletic Facility, and also these new areas at Sanford Stadium. So I think there’s tremendous upside to what could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for naming opportunities that will be available at Sanford Stadium.”
Further details on the West End Zone project, including artist renderings and fundraising information, can be found at the following website:
The project will now be presented for discussion by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents at its meeting on March 15 in Atlanta.
Other highlights of the Athletics Board meeting included the following:
- An introduction by McGarity of three new key staff members: volleyball coach Tom Black, Executive Associate Athletic Directors Matt Borman and Josh Brooks.
- McGarity announced that over $36 million was raised through the Magill Society, which was launched in September of 2015 and now includes over 475 donors.
- Construction projects approved at the Athletics Board meeting in the spring of 2016 — improvements to Stegeman Coliseum, the Boyd Golf Center and the Jack Turner Soccer Complex — remain on schedule and on budget. Additionally, constructions projects in the near future include the resurfacing of Spec Towns track and the building a second video control room to maintain compliance with requirements of SEC and ESPN broadcasting standards.
- A glowing academic report from Faculty Athletic Representative David Shipley. UGA student-athletes compiled an overall GPA of 3.06 for Fall Semester 2016, their highest-ever for a fall term.
2017 Football Season Ticket Deadline
Football season ticket applications will be made available early March.
Season tickets will then be assigned after the season ticket application deadline of March 31, 2017.
Student Athletes of the Month: March
MALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Keegan McGovern, Baseball
- Inducted into the UGA Athletic Association Fall 2015 Leadership Academy
- Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Representation 2015-16
- Hunger Bowl – canned food drive benefitting the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
- UGA Relay for Life
- UGA Special Olympics Prom and Baseball Games
- Salvation Army Christmas
- Operation Christmas Child
- Seven Baskets for Christmas
- Basketball practices with elementary aged children
More information about Keegan McGovern can be found in his biography by clicking here.
FEMALE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Sydni Emanuel, Softball
- Inducted into the UGA Athletic Association Fall 2016 Leadership Academy
- Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Representative 2014-16
- Hunger Bowl – canned food drive benefitting the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
- Feeding the homeless
- Children’s Food Bank of Houston, TX
- Toiletry Collection for Project Safe
- UGA Relay for Life
- UGA Special Olympics Prom and Baseball Games
- “No More” Campaign
- “It’s on Us” Campaign
- “End It” Movement
More information about Sydni Emanuel can be found in her biography by clicking here.
Donor Spotlight: Carl and Pat Swearingen
Top row: Left to Right: Micah Johnson; Joshua Swearingen; Robby Swearingen; Collier Johnson
Front row: Left to Right: Wendi Swearingen; Bryan Swearingen; Pat Swearingen; Carl Swearingen; Jill Johnson; Matt Johnson
Our March Georgia Bulldog Club donor spotlight features Carl and Pat Swearingen. The Swearingen family is avid supporters of the University of Georgia and UGA Athletics.
Carl is a past president of the UGA Alumni association. We are very thankful for the Swearingen family’s friendship and support of our efforts with the Georgia Bulldog Club.
The Swearingen Family
The Swearingen family supports and participates in sports of all kinds. Their enthusiasm with UGA sports probably started in 1964 when Carl entered as a freshman living in Payne Hall next to legendary Sanford Stadium and the home of the Dogs. It was the famous “Flea Flicker” play that signaled the beginning of a long love affair with Georgia’s athletes, not only in football, but in all sports as he crisscrossed the campus (no busses or bridges to navigate) going from North Campus to Stegeman (swimming pool and intramural sports) to South Campus for basketball and Air Force ROTC drills on the large, hot asphalt parking lot in a 100% wool uniform. Pat’s family had watched UGA football with enthusiasm going back to Charlie Trippi and Fran Tarkenton. Little did they know how much they enjoyed all sports as she played intramural soccer, volleyball, and basketball at West Georgia College (BSED Degree-’67) and raised horses on her family’s 9+ acres in south DeKalb County. She began work on her Master’s Degree in Education at UGA just before they married and entered the US Air Force. It was natural for their son, Bryan (UGA B.S. Degree-’95) and daughter, Jill (enrolled at UGA for two years and then received her B.S. Degree-Physical Therapy Degree-‘97 at the Medical College of Georgia -1997) to enjoy tailgating with their family and friends for many years.
Their son-in-law Matt Johnson (UGA B.S.- Biology-’94; UGA-B.S.- Science Education-’94; UGA-MEd - Science Education-’02; and a Specialist in Educational Leadership-’02 University of Alabama) was a UGA Track Letterman, and daughter in-law Wendi (Radiological Technology Degree-‘94 - Carolinas Medical College; Diagnostic Medical Sonography Degree-‘95 - Grady Health School) is a sports enthusiast and National Champion Clogger having danced on Hee Haw at the Grand Ole Opry. All share special UGA times together cheering on the Dogs along with the grandchildren, grandsons Robby, Joshua, Collier, and Micah.
Why do you feel that it is important to support UGA Athletics?
A student-athlete is a uniquely talented person competing both in the classroom and on the field, the pool, the court, the arena, and on the beam. Their ability to perform unbelievable and highly difficult skills demand the very best facilities so that he/she can be successful both in their own areas of achievement as well as when representing the University of Georgia in competition, including the Olympics. Our cheering and attendance would be of minimal value if we only demonstrated our support for the individual and team during the event and then went home. The preparation, relentless practice, weight-lifting exercises, miles running, laps swimming, flips, tumbling, countless volleys, grooming horses, bullpen warm-ups, free-throw shooting, and more demand that we not be just “fans for the moment” but more importantly, “supporters for the successes” of the student who also is an athlete. Their focus, dedication, and discipline are dividends we all receive for our investments. When they wear the Red and Black, we all are represented in a world-class manner.
To what designations do you support and why?
We try to support the various UGA giving opportunities including the Hartman Fund, the Men’s Basketball Enhancement Fund, the Women’s Basketball Premium Seating Fund, the Georgia Baseball Fund, the Gymnastics Endowment Fund, and the Magill Society. The Georgia Bulldog Club does an outstanding job keeping us informed about the various team events and ways to participate both as a fan and as a financial supporter. We try to support those athletic teams without a designated fund through the UGA Foundation since any investment regardless of size might go a long way to help these
How would you to see your gift impact today’s generation of UGA student-athletes?
Supporting the student-athletes is an investment in their time at UGA as well as their future providing a foundation for their role in society as well-informed, involved, and educated citizens. Performing in their respective sporting arenas gives them a competitive environment that so few of us will ever experience. Our gifts are about the total person: building skills, strengthening confidence, teamwork, sensitivity to and for others, understanding roles in their personal lives, appreciating the significance of diversity, and participating in an ever changing global environment. Our funds are entrusted in the capable hands of administrators, coaches, staffs, and supporting personnel to ensure the very best use of the investments.
By supporting UGA Athletics we are investing in both current and future leaders that will perhaps provide even more significant contributions in their post-UGA lives.
With so many great charitable organizations you could choose to support, why do you include UGA Athletics among your philanthropic priorities?
To be a positive citizen of our society, we try to support those charitable organizations that enhance that organization’s respective goals and objectives including church, medical research, educational institutions, military, museums, and the arts. By supporting UGA Athletics we are investing in both current and future leaders that will perhaps provide even more significant contributions in their post-UGA lives. These student-athletes will be leaders and positive role models for today and tomorrow’s youth in sports, education, medicine, politics, research, industry, business, the arts, and more.
As they care for their own health, education, and spirit of participation, they send powerful messages to all about being educated, being engaged, and being excellent in all phases of one’s life.
Describe your experiences cheering on the Bulldogs on game day.
When you hear the shouts, the band, the cheerleaders, the fans all saying “IT’S SATURDAY IN ATHENS,” one’s energy builds rapidly. Tailgating was for many years on north campus with the tables and dishes and drinks inviting all to dive-in, dressed in appropriate Red and Black colors with kids big and small passing footballs and reliving Bulldog moments. Today, the family and friends gather at our condo and “tailgate” with big-screen tvs, multiple hot and cold dishes, a comfortable environment and then the march to the stadium joining the lines of Bulldog fans in eager anticipation of the ensuing battle between the hedges. It’s about singing “Glory, Glory to ‘Ol Georgia,” cheering during the Dog Walk, getting all of the drinks, cotton candy, popcorn, etc. in time for the pregame. Next, stand at attention as the “Star Spangled Banner” is played by the Red Coat Marching Band with military jets screaming by overhead to tell everybody….it is time to play football. Even when the game is over, it is our custom to stay and listen and enjoy the entire Red Coat Band play their beautiful music to close the day. Our “GAME DAY” also includes pregame meals for basketball and gymnastics in the Richard B. Taylor Georgia Room; grabbing snacks in the Foley Field press box seating area before the first baseball pitch, finding the right seats as the Lady Dogs play softball, admiring the Equestrian riders demonstrate command of such beautiful horses, listening for the start as swimmers explode off their blocks into the pool at the Ramsey Center and more.
What would you say to a friend who was considering making a gift towards UGA Athletics?
Financially supporting UGA Athletics is an investment. Yes, it truly is a gift that keeps on giving. Don’t forget the tax opportunities associated with each investment. The preparation, training, and the involvement of student-athletes require financial support. The thrill of seeing UGA student-athletes compete on behalf of the University of Georgia and then receiving thank-you notes and telephone calls from so many of these same student-athletes are most special reminders that you are making the difference between average and superior performances both at UGA and later in life. Being a supporter of the University of Georgia is more than cheering for the Dogs, it is being willing to “Commit to the G.”
Indoor Athletic Facility Dedicated at UGA
Two days short of one year since the groundbreaking occurred, official dedication of the University of Georgia Indoor Athletic Facility (IAF) was held Tuesday, February 14th, inside the new 102,306 square foot structure.
Participants in the ceremony included UGA President Jere W. Morehead, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity, head football coach Kirby Smart, and track and field Olympian and three-time national champion Keturah Orji.
"The Indoor Athletic Facility is a testament to the tremendous loyalty, passion, and excitement that our alumni and friends feel for Georgia athletics," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "Working together, we are fulfilling our commitment to provide our student-athletes with the tools and resources they need to succeed at the highest levels."
The $30.2 million project was completely funded by private gifts and includes a 100-yard football practice field, 65-meter track runway and jumping pits, and a netting system that will provide indoor practice areas for other teams during inclement weather.
"This is a wonderful day of celebration for our entire athletic program," said UGA J.Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. "This new indoor facility will provide a first class, state of the art practice environment that will benefit our sports and student-athletes for decades to come. We are grateful to the members of the Magill Society for helping make this facility become a reality."
The new facility is connected to Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and stretches north and south along the western side of Rutherford Street. Full dimensions of the football practice field are 140 yards long and 80 yards wide. The Woodruff practice field complex will now include the new indoor facility with artificial turf, two natural grass football practice fields, and an outdoor artificial turf multi-purpose area.
We are all grateful and appreciative of the many donors who stepped up and provided the entire funding for this facility
UGA Head Football Coach Kirby Smart
"We are all grateful and appreciative of the many donors who stepped up and provided the entire funding for this facility," said UGA head football coach Kirby Smart. "This new indoor facility is a remarkable addition to our overall football footprint. It opens many new doors for the opportunities our student-athletes will have to practice not only in adverse weather conditions but also provides a first-class working environment for parts of our strength and conditioning and nutrition programs."
During construction, the football team practiced at a location off S. Milledge Avenue near the UGA soccer-softball complex. For the past year the football team has utilized a temporary practice area which is part of the UGA Club Sports Complex. On that location, the Athletic Association constructed two new full-length natural grass fields and one full-length artificial turf field which will now be returned to the UGA Club Sports program.
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