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Post Hoops/Gymdog Practice Facility

Monday January 9, 2006

Welcome Georgia Sports Blog visitors!

The next big capital project for the Athletic Association will be a multi-purpose facility for mens and womens hoops as well as the gymnastics program.

The first thing to notice is the size relative to Stegeman itself. It looks just about as long and tall as the Steg. That’s a lot of volume. All three programs should have ample room to spread out.

Another thing to note is that the building just won’t be a practice facility. It will be the public face and showpiece of these three programs. The main entranceway will be a museum-like area to greet and impress visitors (ever been on the main floor of the Butts-Mehre building?) and make a very nice first impression on recruits.

It’s built-to-order. All three coaches were very involved in specifying what will go into the facility. Basketball offices will overlook the practice courts – a small detail that meant a lot to a coach. As with many of Georgia’s capital projects over the past decade (Ramsey Center, Rankin Smith Center, Gate Six, Milledge Ave. Complex, and so on), we should expect a first-rate facility as a result.

Of course once this gem is completed, it will be contrasted immediately with the dinosaur of a coliseum adjacent to it. What’s the future of the Stegoseum? Clearly it isn’t Bud Walton or the new John Paul Jones arena at Virginia. It’s not a pit either after the improvements that have taken place in steps since 1994.

The discussion over the future of Stegeman Coliseum won’t be confined to the context of basketball or gymnastics. There will be consideration of the debt load of the entire Athletic Association. Spending for a new or refurbished arena will draw vocal criticism from an academic community facing tough cuts. It will be a discussion that involves much of the University and likely local and state governments, and it will be a big leadership challenge for Damon Evans in about twelve months.

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