Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Athletic Board Approves Facility Upgrades

Three facility funding requests totaling $3.83 million were approved Wednesday at the quarterly meeting University of Georgia Athletic Board of Directors.

The largest of plans is a scoreboard control room located on the southeast club level corner within Sanford Stadium. From this location, all video boards in Georgia’s athletic facilities can be operated without having to lease or move HD equipment from venue to venue. At a projected cost of $2.6 million, a HD control room would provide the ability to produce live programming, produce special events and shoulder programming for television and digital distribution.

The Rankin Smith Academic Center will also see a renovation to its Callaway Room at an estimated price of $750,000. Originally designed as a banquet or large study hall, the Callaway Room will be broken off into rooms to allow for a more individualized study and counseling place. The room will be able to hold approximately 200 more one-on-one and small group sessions per week.

Lastly, the South Side SkySuites in Sanford Stadium will be upgraded with new furniture before the start of the 2012 football season. Opened in 1994 with no major furniture upgrades since, the new furniture will address the functionality of the space while maximizing seating and viewing opportunities. To furnish the original 30 suites will cost around $480,000.

“The thing that will really affect the student-athletes the most is obviously the Rankin Smith Center,” said Athletic Director Greg McGarity. “Activity in that building is going on six days a week. It’s already used so much, and this just adds to the ability to service our student-athletes. The others are more geared to the fan experience, as far as suite holders that are paying significant dollars and that is like upgrading your house. We are going to have to do that every 10 years, and the time has come to do that. The other makes our operations more effective and efficient. We don’t have to rent equipment anymore. We have our own studio. It is going to be endless the ways it will help us and the University too.”

Also presented to the board was an academic report by Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley. Shipley announced Georgia’s nominees for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship and Brad Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship. Cross country runner J.P. Hackney and swimmer Wendy Trott serve as the McWhorter nominees while volleyball’s Kathleen Gates and football’s Aron White are nominated for the latter.

Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services Ted White provided more insight into Georgia student-athlete academics while Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Jim Booz highlighted recent NCAA legislation. The auditor’s report was also presented to the members.

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