Georgia Gwinnett College celebrated the institution’s future in intercollegiate athletics today with a groundbreaking ceremony near the college’s main entrance off Collins Hill Road in Lawrenceville.
“On the hillside behind me, generations of Grizzlies will compete for the Green and Gray,” said GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman, shortly before several honored guests turned soil on the site of the college’s new intercollegiate athletics complex.
Taking advantage of the hilly terrain site, the $13.5 million complex will have a tiered design, with a baseball field at the top, above a softball field and soccer field.
“These facilities will create an exciting view for anyone driving along Collins Hill Road,” said Dr. Darin Wilson, director of Athletics. “We look forward to inviting the community to enjoy the competition alongside our students, faculty and staff.”
Spectators will find 800 seats for baseball, 600 seats for softball and ample hillside seating for soccer. A 25,000-square foot athletics building will include locker rooms, training rooms and offices. Sports media will be accommodated with press box facilities. A smaller building will house a ticket office, vending and restroom facilities.
In addition to the new facilities, the college recently accepted a property gift from the GGC Foundation that includes the Collins Hill Tennis & Fitness Center at 100 Countryside Place, a short distance north of the campus. The facility includes four clay and 12 asphalt courts, an outdoor recreational pool, an office and locker and weight rooms.
“This property will provide convenient facilities for our intercollegiate tennis program, as well as intramural or club sports,” said Wilson. “Obtaining such a great facility so close to campus will save time, effort and expense compared to developing new facilities. It also will augment our main athletics facilities on campus.”
In addition to the athletics complex, the college is redesigning its main entrance to connect Collins Hill Road to Collins Hill Industrial Way and Walther Boulevard. This $1.1 million project was funded by a State of Georgia general obligation bond package.
With the Grizzlies expecting to kick off their first soccer season with an Aug. 25 double-header against Tennessee Temple for both its men’s and women’s teams, the college will put priority on completing its new soccer field.
“We have an aggressive construction schedule,” said Eddie Beauchamp, vice president of Facilities and Operations. “Our intramural soccer fields are available, but since the competition field will have artificial turf, we intend to have it ready very quickly.”
Intercollegiate athletics will add yet another dimension to student life at the rapidly-growing college, which now has more than 8,000 students. Georgia Gwinnett is committed to a philosophy of total personal development. A complete athletics program including varsity, club and intramural sports, offers all students an opportunity to develop skills in teamwork, leadership and other key areas.
“We are pleased to offer intercollegiate athletics to our students, as it represents another milestone in our brief history. Varsity sports will enhance the college’s vision of a fully integrated educational experience,” said GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman. “Students who are engaged in college stay in college, and this new level of athletics will provide even more incentive for students to get involved, stay in school and graduate.”
The Grizzlies are offering initially the following sports, which were selected based on student interest, gender equity, facility requirements and potential community interest: men’s baseball, soccer and tennis and women’s softball, soccer and tennis.
For more information about Grizzly athletics, visit www.grizzlyathletics.com.