University of Georgia President, Jere W. Morehead, unveiled Sanford Stadium's brand new west end zone in a dedication ceremony on Friday. Lined up with Morehead was Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart, Athletic Director Greg McGarity, offensive linemen Andrew Thomas and other high-ranking officials at Georgia.
“The project being presented today has to be one of the most exciting and ambitious of this place,” Morehead said. “This project is going to enrich the the experience of our fans.”
The project, which started on April 2017, took over 16 months to complete and is estimated to have cost around $63 million dollars. The project was funded by the Magill Society.
Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, Thomas, Morehead, Smart and McGarity spoke in front of donors inside a white tent outside the west end zone entrance. All four continually thanked the donors for the financial support in their speeches.
“When I arrived at The University of Georgia, it was one of the projects that was important to me,” Smart said. “I said, ‘Look guys, if we want to be competitive against the teams we have to compete against in recruiting, we need the ability to host recruits on gameday and have a first class place to do it.’”
The west end zone features new locker rooms for players and coaches. It measures at 5,400 square feet, which is double the size of the previous one located in the east end zone. The facility also features a shower and physical therapy room.
Thomas said last season the team had to take a bus back to the Butts-Mehre to shower because of the lack of space in the old facility.
“Having the ability to dress and shower after the game will give us a better routine for getting ready for home games,” Thomas said.
Above the locker room, there is a 10,574 square feet hospitality lounge meant to host recruits and their guests. The lounge has offensive and defensive boards dedicated to former Georgia players who are in the NFL.
Both Smart and Thomas said the new lounge gives coaches a chance to connect with players on gameday.
“This will give us an advantage in the recruiting aspect,” Thomas said. “Prospects will now be able to visit with coaches before the game and after the game. They will have a place to hangout with coaches after the game.”
The west end zone will also offer fans a plaza covering over 11,000 square feet.
Along with the west end zone, a new scoreboard will see action in its first regular season game on Saturday. The new scoreboard is 100 feet wide and 52 feet tall.
“I think it’s a recognition that if we want to have success in recruiting that helps us have great success with football overall, we have to do things of this nature to remain competitive with a very top programs in the country,” Morehead said.