Georgia State unveiled its $80 million facilities master plan today on its website with the purpose of providing its 19 varsity programs the best places to play and the best experience for fans, according to athletic director Cheryl Levick.
The cost to complete the plans, which include a renovation of the Sports Arena and new stadiums for baseball, softball, soccer and both volleyball teams, is expected to rise.
Money and land, which isn’t included in the cost, are the two biggest obstacles to completion.
Georgia State would like the stadiums to be as close to downtown as possible. Panthersville, where many of the outdoor sports play, is 15 miles from campus.
Finding suitable land at a price that doesn’t exceed the state-mandated appraised value, is the next step in the process.
Paying for the projects will come from different sources, but Georgia State would prefer to pay for it through donations. James Greenwell, executive senior associate athletics director, said he doesn’t foresee increasing student fees or ticket prices to cover the costs.
The presentation includes videos and descriptions of each new stadium, along with a message from Levick:
“This…is a blue print for long-term growth and success for Georgia State athletics,” she says.
The following is a question-and-answer with information from Greenwell, from the video that covers the facilities plan and other reporting.
Q: How long has this plan been in the works?
A: The process took 18 months. Georgia State began working with consultants in the summer of 2010 and finished the winter of 2011.
Q: Is there a timetable for completion?
A: No. Georgia State is calling it a long-term master plan. If funding comes in the next 3-5 years, Greenwell said they can get it all done. But it’s completely contingent on funding.
Q: Is there a fund-raising campaign tied to the Master Plan? If not, will there be and when?
A: There is a campaign, but the structure of the campaign isn’t complete. Georgia State is working with the university.
Q: What are the goals related to choosing the locations of the new downtown facilities? Walking distance for students, etc.?
A: Georgia State wants the facilities to be built in the downtown area, as close to campus as possible. They have looked at different pieces of land, but there has been no movement.
Q: If Georgia State were to find a 15-acre plot, does it have the finances to purchase?
A: No. However, Greenwell said if Georgia State began negotiations, it would go out and aggressively seek help from supporters.
Q: Has the Sun Belt put any type of time line on any upgrades?
Q: Is Georgia State seeking land to match the facilities plans, or is it open to modifying the plans to match available land?
A: Greenwell said Georgia State will be flexible enough to fit the plans to the best property it can find.
Q: Other than money, what is the biggest hurdle to getting this done?
A: Any large projects have to be approved by the Board of Regents. It’s a normal approval process for any state school to go through to build something. It would be unusual for Georgia State to present its plan, complete with funding, and to be turned down.
Q: Is Georgia State considering using bonds, similar to what Georgia Tech did for McCamish Pavilion, if it can get a sizable donation as a downpayment?
A: Greenwell said Georgia State has not had that discussion. He said it’s something he imagines they will discuss if it becomes appropriate.
Q: If the annual donations remain at the level reported yesterday ($800,000), can any of these projects be completed?
A: Greenwell said the master plan has been constructed so that they can do certain renovations to the Sports Arena or the sand volleyball with a small amount of funding. However, he said it’s difficult to start anything related to Panthersville with just a few hundred thousand dollars. He points out that land can’t be bought for $300,000.
Q: Will this be entirely finance through donations?
A: Georgia State will consider all of its revenue streams: ticket sales and corportate sponsorships, for example. It sets aside a certain amount of our budget every year for projects.
Q: What happens if the Falcons get a new stadium? Has GSU been included with the GWCC plan for the new stadium?
A: Greenwell said they are certainly talking internally and have been in conversations with the Dome and GWCC about what the plans are. He said they haven’t had heard anything to date that would jeopardize Georgia State playing in the Dome.
Q: Is Georgia State prioritizing what can be done?
A: Greenwell said they will prioritize based upon what they have the money to do combined with impact of the renovation. An arena renovation, for example, is complex because it’s a shell game in terms of construction and moving people.
Q: If someone gave $20 million tomorrow, what’s the first project that would be tackled?
A: Greenwell said that’s a question for Levick or GSU President Dr. Mark Becker.