In 2016, one chapter in the history of Turner Field concluded, ultimately setting the stage for a new era in a new sport. The final season for Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves at the facility drew some headlines, but Georgia State University attracted plenty of attention by moving forward with its plan to convert the ballpark into a football stadium.
Turner Field was first constructed for the 1996 Olympics, and was converted to a ballpark in time for the 1997 MLB season. With the Braves set to move to SunTrust Park in Cobb County, Turner Field is now looking at a future that will include college football and a potentially large-scale redevelopment of the surrounding area.
In August, Georgia State and its development partner–Carter and Oakwood Development—moved forward with plans to purchase Turner Field for $30 million. The sale is expected to be completed before the year ends, which is why Georgia State has discussed the possibility of moving into the facility by next fall.
The vision for the future of Turner Field became a little more apparent this fall, when the university released renderings of the stadium. In those plans, much of Turner Field’s current structure remains in tact, but with the glaring exception of the upper deck in right field, which would be removed to reduce seating capacity.
At the same time, the renderings were released, the university approved a variety of spending measures for the Turner Field renovation and related development, which could include a baseball facility and mixed-use amenities. If everything moves forward as expected, some work would take place before the Georgia State Panthers arrive at the facility next fall, with the remainder of the renovation being completed at a later date.
From the Olympics to baseball, Turner Field has seen plenty of action over its relatively short history. That history could now include college football, with Georgia State playing a pivotal role in Turner Field’s next chapter.
Renderings courtesy Georgia State University.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List: