As those who know me can attest, I’m pretty poor at visualizing things in space, so I’m appreciative of Groo’s summary of where the indoor practice facility may wind up being situated.
The renderings make clear the tradeoffs in picking the location. It’s tight quarters. Some combination of existing buildings, existing practice fields, campus streets, and parking will be affected. While the perspective of the renderings make it tough to pinpoint the exact locations, we see several distinct locations under consideration.
- Some of the renderings lie in part of what we’ll call the “Hoke Smith Block” bordered by Lumpkin St., Carlton St., Sanford Dr., and Smith St. We’re shown versions that are aligned east-west as well as north-south. The north-south orientation cuts off Smith St. and replaces the smaller turf practice field below the track. The east-west version brings the facility closer to Stegeman Coliseum.
- Other configurations show the facility on the footprint of either a full-length turf or grass practice field. McGarity has insisted for several years that “we don’t want to disturb that environment” of “the first-class practice facility we have here with two grass fields and two turf fields.”
- At the same time, we’ve come a long way in a year. In December 2013, McGarity seemed resigned to the idea that “it’s gotta probably be out on South Milledge.” We know now that the focus is now much closer to the existing complex. Has McGarity’s stance on sacrificing a practice field changed as well? After all, is an outdoor turf field much different than an indoor one?
- Another possibility shows the facility placed in the area surrounded by Foley Field’s left field wall, the tennis complex, the Carlton St. parking deck, and the Rankin Smith Center.
Of course, he’s right to note that it’s way too early in the process to start guessing which site makes the most sense, but I can’t help but wonder about one matter this early. Remember that something like $30 million is being set aside for the new facility, which is definitely on the high side for such things. That number makes sense in the context of having to allocate funds for acquiring the Hoke Smith property from the university, but if it’s not going to wind up there, what else do they need all that money for? Any ideas out there?