Georgia State unveils plan for converting Turner Field into football stadium (Photos)

Dr. Saturday
(via Georgia State athletics)
(via Georgia State athletics)

Georgia State’s plans to convert Turner Field into a football stadium are beginning to come to fruition.

The university’s regents officially approved a plan to spend $52.8 million to buy and renovate the former Atlanta Braves baseball stadium and surrounding properties into a new athletics complex and campus expansion.

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The plan is to convert Turner Field into a new 22,000-seat football stadium.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The downtown university and a private development team came to terms in August to buy Turner Field for $30 million by the end of the year. Georgia State and its partners have proposed a $300 million development that includes turning The Ted into a new home for Panther football.

Most of the money — $26 million — would go toward stadium renovations to remake Turner Field into a 22,000-seat stadium. That work, which would take place in two phases, would include a new field, covering upper deck seating, reorienting lower bowl seating and upgrading locker rooms and other areas. Georgia State would also use $5 million in student tuition money to relocate its hospitality school into newly renovated space at the stadium. Another $22.8 million would be used to purchase the stadium and surrounding parking lots.

Here’s the school’s plan for the stadium (another view is above):

(via Georgia State athletics)
(via Georgia State athletics)

Per the AJC, most of the money approved by the school Wednesday comes from its “accumulated savings.” Approximately $5 million of the money will come from student tuition. That portion of the money is slated to go toward a “relocation of the hospitality school.”

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“Acquiring the former Turner Field site presents a unique opportunity for Georgia State University that will help its athletics program continue to grow and positively impact the surrounding area,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “Georgia State University continues to advance as a leading urban research institution and making this site and facility part of Georgia State will help enhance the campus experience for students.”

The school officially takes ownership of the property Jan. 1, 2017.

Georgia State, which plays in the Georgia Dome, first launched its football program in 2008 and played its first season — as an FCS Independent — in 2010. After three seasons at the FCS level (two as an independent, one in the Colonial Athletic Association), the program made the jump to the FBS and joined the Sun Belt Conference.

The Panthers went a combined 1-23 in their first two FBS seasons, but broke through to six wins in 2015, including an appearance in the Cure Bowl (a 27-16 loss to San Jose State). Georgia State is 2-7 so far this season and hosts UL Monroe on Saturday.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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