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Post Nice track you’ve got there

Saturday August 27, 2022

Kirby Smart isn’t being subtle about what he’s eyeing for Georgia’s next facilities upgrade.

“One of the toughest (problems) for us here is the field space. We’re not able to operate on side-by-side fields, which right now we’re the only team in the SEC that has that. It makes it tough when you try to transition and practice outside.”

With a newly-completed indoor facility and expanded football complex built on the footprint of former practice fields, outdoor practice space is now at a premium. There’s only one direction in which to expand, and new track coach Caryl Smith Gilbert knows how this story ends.

“I know Kirby wants our track land for football,” she said. “Maybe we could talk about building a new stadium somewhere else which would be great because then we can make it how we want it.”

Smith Gilbert isn’t being blindsided here. Facilities were part of the discussion when she took the job a year ago, and they were a factor in the departure of her predecessor. You don’t leave a new $16 million track renovation on the opposite side of the country for subpar facilities at Georgia without knowing that you’ll be taken care of.

The only question is the timetable. Georgia has a handful of facilities projects either underway or approved in the short-term including tennis, baseball, and the Sanford Stadium renovation. In time though the Spec Towns track facility will almost surely be redeveloped as part of the football practice complex, and Georgia will open an impressive new off-campus track stadium guided by the vision of Caryl Smith Gilbert.

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