Georgia State is proposing repurposing Turner Field into a 30,000-seat football stadium and building another baseball stadium that will include Hank Aaron’s wall as part of the structure. University President Dr. Mark Becker and Atlanta real estate development firm Carter provided the Atlanta Journal-Constitution an exclusive look at the proposal on Wednesday. The idea is more than just stadiums. They want to be partners in building an estimated $300 million development that will include retail, residential and student housing and will be paid for through a mix of public and private funds. “Georgia State has never had these sorts of facilities for its athletics programs,” Becker said. “We are aware we’ve won three conference championships this year. The program itself is on an upward trajectory. This continues to support a growing and strengthening athletics program, but one that by no means has achieved its potential.” Turner Field and the surrounding 77-acre area has been the subject of intense speculation since the Braves announced they were to going to build a new stadium in Cobb County that will open in 2017. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said on April 17 that he had already received as many as four proposals for the property. Georgia State’s is one of the four. Becker said it’s too early to know how much it will cost to re-purpose Turner Field or build a baseball stadium. However, he doesn’t plan on increasing student fees to finance the project. Students will pay $46.17 per registered hour – capped at $277 per semester — to support athletics during the 2014-15 academic year. It is the second-most expensive portion of the 11 components of the mandatory student fees. Georgia State and Carter will begin the process of due diligence in calculating exact costs for the project. Becker said the plan is to accomplish what’s proposed and not leave something out, like the football stadium, should the estimated costs increase. He said there is no back-up plan. Becker said he would like a new stadium, as opposed to continue playing in the Georgia Dome or the new downtown stadium that will open in 2017, because he wants to provide “the real college football experience.” If Georgia State reaches an agreement with the authority that owns Turner Field and the money or financing is available, construction on the new stadiums couldn’t begin until the Braves have moved into their new stadium. Becker said ground would be broken in January 2017.
Georgia State wants to turn Turner Field into football stadium
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | May 7