Fans filing into Georgia's home today will see as much, since workers will spend the next few weeks putting the final touches on an addition to the north stands that will raise Sanford's capacity from 86,520 to more than 92,000, making it the fifth-largest on-campus stadium in the nation.
They'll also see that the job's not quite finished.
"It's at about 85 percent," said Charles Whittemore, Georgia's
athletic director for facilities. "The construction company is probably
going to be here another month before they absolutely, positively
punch-list and move out. It'll probably be the Alabama game before we're
absolutely positively done."
About 5,500 seats were added as Georgia put a third level on that side.
New entrance and exit ramps were installed, as well as escalators going
straight to the 300 level.
The project, with Turner Construction as the general contractor, cost
$25 million. Up next for Sanford is one level of sky suites - 27 in all
- that will add up to about 700 more seats to Sanford. That work is
scheduled to begin in January.
Work on the addition began in earnest last December with the demolition
of some ramps on that side, followed by extensive electrical and
plumbing work. Work stopped for exams and study time because that side
of the stadium is near some student housing.
That delay, plus the rain of the last several months and normal
construction issues, has helped keep the project interesting.
"There's been a lot of head-scratching," Whittemore said.
"There's a lot
of unplanned head-scratching. I don't think you can dig in the ground
around Athens, Ga. All the good spots have already been picked."
Whittemore said everything has passed inspection and the school was
issued a temporary occupancy permit. Fans watching the game won't notice
that the work is incomplete.
"I'm real glad we're having a day game for the first game with the new
addition," he said. "It gives everybody a chance to see how to move
around during the day."
There will be a few signs work remains.
"Bathrooms will be usable, but it's not a porta-potty, and that's
important," Whittemore said, with humor in his voice. "They're not
you would call a finished product.
"There could be, in some situations, a commode without a toilet paper
holder. That might happen."
There will be a temporary concession stand set up as well. Whittemore
said every effort will be made to hide the remaining work, and that
everything from a safety standpoint is set.
"These areas will be clean, that's our goal," he said.
The crews won't waste any time today, either.
"What time's kickoff?" Whittemore asked. "Gates open two hours
kickoff. That's when we'll stop working."
Stadium Expansion goes to the last minute
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