Georgia State University could begin playing football at Turner Field next fall, but it will take time for the venue to completely repurposed.
With plans to acquire Turner Field and the surrounding properties moving forward, Georgia State can begin working out the details on how to convert the longtime ballpark into a football venue. Turner Field has an unusual history, having first been constructed as a stadium for the 1996 Olympics before being modified to host MLB’s Atlanta Braves.
Georgia State has tapped HOK to handle some of the design work. According to architects Bill Johnson and Randy Bredar, the basics–such as the configuration of the field–can probably be figured out in time for the 2017 college football season. However, there are some additional details that prove to be more time consuming. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Bredar said the redesign will also have to consider alterations to improve sight lines for football.
Bredar, who along with Johnson did not have first-hand knowledge of Georgia State’s plans, said Georgia State also would be wise to preserve suites for greater revenue potential.
A full overhaul of the stadium would likely take place between seasons or stretch across multiple seasons.
“It’s not unusual for us as a contractor to renovate, expand and modify stadiums and have that work continue while a season is in play,” Bredar said.
The Journal-Constitution noted that past concepts have included scaling Turner Field down to about 30,000 seats, and making other changes to the existing seating bowl to make it more compatible for football. Georgia State does have an incentive to play in Turner Field next fall, however, as the football program’s current home is the Georgia Dome, which could be torn down before the 2017 college season to make more space for the adjacent Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Georgia State and its partners–Carter and Oakwood Development–are expected to close on the acquisition by the end of this year.