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February 15, 2006

Groundbreaking For Stegeman Coliseum Annex on Friday

On SaturdayFriday, UGA will break ground on a new hoops practice facility that is roughly the size of Stegeman Coliseum. The long overdue facility was one of the first things that Damon Evans approved when he took the job as an athletic director.

The $30 million facility will be the second largest single facility related investment in the history of Georgia Athletics. More interestingly, it will the most expensive facility ever built by UGA athletics that will not directly generate revenue to support itself.

Large recent projects of note:
$33 million - Sanford's Third Deck and Sky boxes (2003-2004)
$30 million - Hoops Practice Facility (2006-2007)
$12 million - Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall (1987)
$12 million - Sanford Sky Box Expansion (2000)
$11.5 million - Sanford Railroad Track End enclosed (1981)
$6 million - Sky Boxes Version 1 (1994)
$3.7 million - Enclosing bridge side of Sanford (1991)
$3 million - Stegeman Reseating/Stage Removal/Air Conditioning (1996)

Stegeman has also received roughly $2.5 million in face lifts to the sound system, flooring, locker rooms and lights since 1996. Bringing the total investment in hoops facilities since 1996 to more than $35 million. All of it was long overdue, but progress is finally being made.

In other words, should we as fans continue to complain about the past if we're finally making progress now.**

Right before Felton was hired, UGA announced tentative plans for a $34 million renovation of Stegeman which would include:
- a new roof
- club level and expanding the arena on three sides to allow for larger concourse areas
- more rest rooms and more concession stands
- new men's and women's practice courts
- a 14,500-square foot weight room
- a 15,330-square foot gymnastics practice facility.
- this proposal would *not* have added any net new seats
"The [practice and weight room] buildings would be added to the back of the Coliseum and have priority over the renovation of the main building."

That is a really important quote. By reading that article, it appears that the new practice facility has replaced the announced $34 million improvement. I say that because you can clearly see that we're spending $30 million on items 4-6 on that list. Good.

Hopefully, that means Damon's plans for Stegeman long-term are bigger and more immediate than what he pitched the Athletic Board on as recently as 2004. Good.


**yeah, I edited that line for content. It just seemed like a shot even when it wasn't meant to be one.


Randal Burgess said...

I'm curious...Hasn't Richt been pining for an indoor football facility for the past few years? Even Kentucky(!) has a first-class indoor football facility. Stegeman has needed renovation since I was there in 94-98, but still ... football is what keeps this fan base going. Any word on this?

Anonymous said...

Other than being a totally unecessary waste of millions of dollars, and perhaps actually hurting the team on gamedays because we would practice inside in nice conditions and play outside in whatever conditions there are, an indoor football practice facility is a great idea.

MR is doing a great job, but an indoor facility would be about ego and monumentalism, not need.

pwd had a definitive post on this topic a couple of months ago.

Randal Burgess said...

Who said anything about need? It's about recruiting. Yeah, yeah, I know you're going to say "look at our recruiting class, why do we need better facilities?" But these kids are naive and focus on things that aren't always important ... Richt is the one who asked for it, not me.

And I don't care what you say, practicing outside in a cold fall rain might build character, but it hurts your preparation for game-planning.

Anonymous said...

It's not about "building character." It's about having to play in the rain, cold and heat so you need to practice in rain, cold and heat. And if you don't, you might lose games you otherwise would win.

It's one thing to say, "I'd be willing to kill a baby to beat Florida." OK, a bit much, IMHO, but OK. But why would you kill a baby if it might cause you to lose to Florida?

The fact is, Athens has great weather. There aren't five days a year when weather is even an issue.

Even for football, even at UGA, there has to be some sense of proportion and allocating resources based on need. $30 million for something that would legitimately be used 5 days a year is just crazy, even for football, even at UGA.

As for the recruits, what if Bobby Lauder were crazy enough to pay to put gold toilet fixtures in lockerroom at AU and the recruits started talking about the "Auburn toilet bling?" Would you be in favor of us doing the same?

Unknown said...

Randal - you ask a fair question. I addressed this issue a few months back here.

The Athens Paper covered this topic about 2 years ago. I found the link when writing the Stegemen article above and then lost it. The facility that Richt wants costs more than $30 million.

We don't need it for functional reasons b/c we play outdoors and it only rains hard enough to go inside maybe 4 times a year.

We don't need it for recruiting reasons b/c we're recruiting in the Top 5-10 every year, and the two teams that most often beat us for kids (FSU and UF) don't have one.

They in no way shape or form translate to wins. Spurrier never had one. He did ok. We're one of two or three programs that don't have one in the SEC and we're #1 in the SEC in overall and SEC wins since 2000.

So as Stick Jackson said, it's about monument building. And it would make us soft. As the link above discusses with the Falcons.

It would be the biggest waste in UGA history. (even bigger than Mike Adams compensation package)


Anonymous said...

Actually, any compensation package that gets Adam$ out of Athens for good could hardly be called a 'waste'.

Anonymous said...

PWD, I think Saturday needs to be changed to Friday (the 2nd word of your article).

Unknown said...

Thanks SouthBark.

Randal Burgess said...

"what if Bobby Lauder were crazy enough to pay to put gold toilet fixtures in lockerroom at AU and the recruits started talking about the "Auburn toilet bling?" Would you be in favor of us doing the same?"

If buying a bronze sh*tter got us the star players, then yeah.

Anonymous said...

Paul, thanks for posting your blog's address on the AJC UGA blog. I did not know about it.

Anonymous said...

I wrote this in a response to a Red and Black article saying UGA was lagging behind because we didn't have an indoor practice facility:

The Need for an Indoor Practice Facility a Fallacy

Recently in the Red and Black there was an article (“Georgia one of the few SEC teams left in the rain”) clamoring for the need of an indoor practice facility for our beloved Dawgs. While putting more money into the football program seems tempting, do we really need to spend up to $20 million to be one of the few SEC teams not left in the rain? While I love UGA football and would enthusiastically back any idea that would give our team an advantage, this is not one of them. The rational used to explain our “need” for a practice facility is not only absurd, it is down right false.
First lets us consider the fact that Georgia has some of the best weather in the nation. The football team did not have to deal with snow once this season and how many times did it storm so bad as to warrant moving practice into an indoor facility? Once… twice? The article itself says the football team only needed to use the Falcon’s Flowery Branch indoor practice facility once the entire season. I am sorry for the tribulations the team must have gone through driving an hour from campus, but whatever it was I am sure an SEC championship (won without players practicing in an indoor practice facility, to get away from all that nasty weather) made up for their troubles.
I understand the fact that at times it gets very hot outside and very cold, but last time I checked we played in an outdoor stadium, as do most college football teams, so why would the coaching staff and team not want to practice in the same conditions they are playing in? One only needs to look towards the NFL to show what playing indoors can do to a team that is forced to play outdoors (the Indianapolis Colts continually get humiliated to teams like the Patriots who play outdoors and can handle the elements). Having our team practice in an indoor facility (the team would practice there more than just during inclement weather; you think the University would approve a $20 million facility only to be used once or twice a season?) would soften the team up to the elements they would be playing in.
Weather was not the only reason to build the facility, according to the article, but the new facility would also include new locker rooms, banquet halls, coaches’ offices, and various other quarters that a multi-purpose facility would have. Why I understand the need to upgrade those sorts of things, which I am all for in order to stay competitive in the cutthroat SEC, there is no need to build new locations for these. Upgrade the offices and locker rooms were they currently are, upgrade the current weight rooms, hire better staff, or use the $20 million dollars to build a new basketball arena, or a variety of other outdated athletic facilities, and put nice new offices in there. However, do not waste the money on something UGA does not need and would only hurt the football program by softening them up.
There’s a variety of reasons why the need for an indoor practice facility is not needed, but the most important are: since 1997 UGA has finished the season ranked in Top 25 in both the Coaches’ and Associated Press polls, out of those nine years UGA has been finished the season ranked in the Top 10 five times. In that time period UGA has gone 7-2 in bowls, 87-27 during the regular season, while posting winning records over every SEC team except Auburn and Florida, who also conveniently do not have indoor practice facilities, and dominated in-state opponent Georgia Tech. Since Coach Richt has been aboard UGA has been Top 10 in recruiting ever year, averaging 5.8 in the recruiting rankings during Richt’s current 2002-2006 span (which I believe is the best average over that span in the entire nation). All this was done without an indoor practice facility, and while I understand the need to stay competitive, adding an indoor practice facility “just to say we have one” has got to be one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. That money can be taken and spent elsewhere within the athletic program which would have better effects for recruiting, training/practice, and competitiveness.

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