(ATR) Georgia State University is now the official owner of the former Centennial Olympic Stadium.
Georgia State University's vision of the New Panther Stadium (Georgia State University)
The Georgia Board of Regents approved the purchase of Turner Field on Wednesday. Georgia State and its president Mark Becker will be overseeing more Olympic venues than any other university in the world.
“We are excited to begin the next phase of this transformational project for the university and the city," President Becker said in a statement. “It is rewarding to see our vision begin to take shape.”
The Board of Regents approved Georgia State's purchase of 38 acres of the 68 acre site which includes the stadium and the adjacent parking lot for $22.8 million. The lot was the former location of the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and will be converted into the university's own baseball stadium. Georgia State’s plan to reinvent Turner Field includes converting the current baseball stadium into a 23,000 seat football facility at a cost of $26 million along with spending another $4 million to re-purpose the stadium's club level for academic use.
The remaining 30 acres will be sold to Georgia State’s development partner Carter and Associates. The company plans to spend $300 million to develop housing, retail space and school facilities in the areas surrounding the new complex.
Turner Field (Getty Images)
The Centennial Olympic Stadium was built specifically for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. It was at that stadium that the late Muhammad Ali – the first three-time heavyweight champion – lit the Olympic Flame during the Opening Ceremony of the '96 Games. The stadium was converted into Turner Field for the Atlanta Braves baseball team shortly after the Games but the Braves opted to move out after 20 seasons. The Braves will begin next season at the newly constructed Sun Trust Park in suburban Atlanta.
The university will begin the renovation process at the beginning of next year. Officials have stated no taxpayer dollars or new student fees will be used to fund the Stadium's renovations.
The Georgia State Panthers will make Turner Field their new home by the 2017 football season in September.
Written by Courtney Colquitt
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