GGC receives approval on athletics facilities plans

Grizzly Athletics hit three home runs this week.

Georgia Gwinnett College was accepted Sunday into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) during the organization’s annual conference in Newport Beach, Calif. Also on Sunday, its director of Athletics, Dr. Darin Wilson, received the NAIA Athletics Directors Association Athletics Director of the Year Award. Then today, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents issued its final approvals of the college’s athletics facilities plans.

Grizzly Athletics hit three home runs this week.

Georgia Gwinnett College was accepted Sunday into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) during the organization’s annual conference in Newport Beach, Calif. Also on Sunday, its director of Athletics, Dr. Darin Wilson, received the NAIA Athletics Directors Association Athletics Director of the Year Award. Then today, the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents issued its final approvals of the college’s athletics facilities plans.

With this go-ahead, the college will accept 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.”

The main facilities, funded by an already-approved student fee, will feature soccer, softball and baseball fields. 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.

The $13.5 million main athletics facilities will be located along Collins Hill Road just north of the college’s main entrance, and will include a stepped site plan that takes advantage of the site’s hilly terrain.

Construction will begin as soon as possible, as will a closely related project to redesign the college’s main entrance to form a roundabout that will better accommodate traffic as the college continues to grow.

The roundabout project also includes a quarter-mile section of road to connect to an existing street behind the college’s signature administrative building. This road will create a campus connection from Collins Hill to Collins Hill Industrial Way and Walther Boulevard. This $1.1 million project was funded by a State of Georgia general obligation bond package.

“We are very excited to move ahead with all of these facilities,” said Wilson. “These facilities are critical to the successful kickoff of the college’s intercollegiate athletics program in the fall of 2012.”

With the Grizzlies expecting to kick off their first soccer season with an Aug. 25 double-header against Tennessee Temple, the college will put priority on completing work on its new soccer field.  

“We have an aggressive construction schedule,” said Eddie Beauchamp, vice president of Facilities and Operations. “We will break ground as soon as possible. We have intramural soccer fields available if needed, 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 plan to offer 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.

The application deadline for the fall 2012 semester at GGC is June 1.

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