Aug. 19, 2003
Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is the oldest on-campus football stadium in NCAA Division I-A, but the Yellow Jackets’ venerable stadium takes on a new look this fall with the completion of an ambitious two-year expansion and renovation project that has raised capacity to 55,000 seats.
In addition to the increased seating capacity, the project has added numerous amenities, creating a first-class, modern facility that will benefit Yellow Jacket fans for years to come while preserving the tradition and intimacy of this storied stadium, the home to Tech football since 1913.
The focal point of the project is the new North end zone structure, which seats 15,678 in two levels and includes 10 suites as well as the Howard Ector Letterwinners’ Lounge. The North end zone also features a new 7,000-square foot locker room, a 3,300-square foot players’ lounge and media area, and football coaches’ offices that overlook the playing field.
A new seating structure was installed in the lower East, which also features 20 new suites as well as 2,040 chair-backed club seats between the 25-yard lines and a private, air-conditioned lounge for those patrons. The popular upper East stands remain in place with cosmetic improvements.
At the South end of Bobby Dodd Stadium, 2,970 new seats were added in front of the Wardlaw Building, forming a three-sided seating bowl that spans the North, East and South areas of the stadium.
A new natural grass playing surface and drainage system was installed, and the field was shifted approximately 30 feet to the north and 15 feet to the west.
The building project also includes the rebuilt Russ Chandler Stadium, Tech’s 4,157-seat, state-of-the-art baseball facility that opened in 2002 and now ranks as one of the best in the nation.
Program management was provided by Carter/Turner, a joint venture of Carter & Associates and Turner Construction, while HOK Sports was the architect.
To date, the total cost of building and renovating the two facilities is $75.3 million, well under the budget of $77.2 million (including a $2.2 million contingency fund) that was approved in December, 2001 by the Georgia Tech Athletic Association Board. The cost of the building projects is being funded with tax exempt bonds, which will be repaid by donations and premium seat lease fees.
Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that the extensive makeover of 90-year-old Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field was accomplished in less than two years and with no interruption of service. Phase One, which brought capacity to 43,719, began immediately following the 2001 season and was completed in time for the Aug. 31, 2002, season opener. Phase Two began in December of 2002 and will be completed for Tech’s Sept. 6 opener against Auburn.
Similarly, construction of Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium was completed in an eight-month period, beginning after the conclusion of the 2001 season and finishing in time for the start of the 2002 season.
The “Building a Competitive Advantage” fund-raising campaign was launched in January, 2001 to fund athletics facility improvements such as these two stadium projects in order to aid in Georgia Tech’s recruiting efforts to attract student-athletes of academic and athletic excellence and to enhance the gameday experience for Tech students, alumni and fans. To date, $44.6 million, out of a goal of $50 million, has been raised. The campaign is expected to continue until June 30, 2005.