UGA already breaking ground on new indoor facility (sort of)

Drilling technicians and hydro engineers retrieve soil samples from deep beneath UGA's Woodruff Practice Fields in the area where a new multi-million dollar indoor facility will be built in 2016. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Drilling technicians and hydro engineers retrieve soil samples from deep beneath UGA’s Woodruff Practice Fields in the area where a new multi-million dollar indoor facility will be built in 2016. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

ATHENS – The first tangible evidence of exactly where Georgia’s new indoor athletic facility is going to be erected was on display Tuesday on the Woodruff Practice Fields behind Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.

Engineers from Geo Hydro Engineers were teaming up with technicians from DSS Drilling to get soil samples from beneath the practice fields. It’s the first step in what promises to be a year-long endeavor to construct a massive training facility on the grounds of the current football complex.

“I guess it’s probably the first outward sign in the public view that things are actually happening,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said Tuesday. “Certainly in the background there has been a tremendous amount of work done with the architects and campus planning on moving this process forward.But this is the first outward evidence that things are moving along.”

The actual construction of the 120-yards-long, 80-yards-wide and 65-feet-tall building still won’t begin until January of 2016. But in the meantime, there is much work to be done, especially when it comes to what construction crews will be dealing with underground.

Based on the line of drill points crews were making, the interior edge of the IAF will extend about halfway across the existing natural-grass fields. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Based on the line of drill points crews were making, the interior edge of the IAF will extend about halfway across the existing natural-grass fields. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

They’ll have to dig deep to fit the massive building into the footprint of the existing landscape. In addition to determining with what kind of soil and how much rock might be beneath, there is the matter of dealing with the location and relocation of numerous utilities, such as electric, gas and water. And in the case of Georgia’s practice fields, there is a 175,000-gallon cistern underneath the fields to gather water. McGarity had no idea how they were going to deal with that.

Meanwhile, McGarity said he and Deputy Athletic Director Carla Williams visited the offices of Collins Cooper Carusi architects in Atlanta on Monday to go over some plans for the building, which has been projected to cost about $30 million. But McGarity said at this point they’re not even sure yet what the building might look like.

“Right now we’re just going over the floor plan and the inner workings of the building,” he said. “We’re still determining what will be in there and where everything will be located.”

The Bulldogs are the last football program in the 14-team SEC to build an indoor practice facility for football. Georgia will also use the building to provide an indoor training space for track & field and baseball. The facility will include a 60-yard sprint track and a jumps runway in addition to a 100-yard football field, goal posts and office and storage space.


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