ATHENS, Ga. -- By next football season, dingy Reed Alley beside Sanford Stadium could look more like the plaza at Atlanta's Turner Field, with dozens of new restrooms and concession areas and giant TV screens so fans can buy a snack and still see what's happening on the football field.
On the 359 days a year when the University of Georgia Bulldogs are not playing a football game in Athens, Reed Alley will become a much prettier place for people walking between East Campus Road and Sanford Drive, said University of Georgia Campus Architect Danny Sniff.
Instead of gray concrete and cracked asphalt, pedestrians and bicyclists will travel a covered walk by the stadium with plants and other landscaping features.
"It connects more of our open space and pedestrian pathways; it will facilitate east-west pedestrian and bicycle flow. It's going to create a much nicer kind of pedestrian walkway - the way we talk about it is, the quality of the walk," Sniff said. "I think it's going to make an incredible change in that whole north side of the stadium."
The Reed Alley project has been part of UGA's master plan for more than a decade, and the university hired a design firm and contractor this fall, Sniff said.
The companies are scheduled to have detailed plans and cost estimates ready for the UGA Athletic Association - which is footing the bill - before the association's next meeting in February.
If the association's board of directors gives the go-ahead, work on the addition would start soon after UGA spring commencement in May.
The project could be finished by Aug. 1, a month before UGA's first home football game on Sept. 4.
"We think we can build it between now and football season," Sniff said.
The basic plan calls for workers to dig down into the alley, bringing the grade down to the same level as Sanford Drive on one end and East Campus Road on the other end.
The chain-link fence that keeps people out of the stadium will be replaced by a barrier that can be raised on football gamedays. When the fence is in place, crowds will have about 45,000 square feet of space to mill around in on gamedays - four times as much as today's area of about 11,000 square feet, Sniff said.
On either side of the alley, workers will install about 80 new restrooms, mainly for women, as well as new areas for vendors.
The top of the restroom area on the north side of the alley will form a kind of sun deck for residents of Reed Hall, the UGA dormitory that gives the alley its name, Sniff said.
The Reed Alley Project would not only dramatically change the look of the stadium's north side, but could shift UGA pedestrian traffic eastward.
More and more pedestrian traffic has shifted to East Campus Road as UGA develops its East Campus, including a new fraternity house complex under construction this fall, and next year, a residence hall with more than 500 beds.
A University System of Georgia Board of Regents committee is scheduled to hear the Reed Alley plans today, along with plans for another big-ticket construction project planned for Stegeman Coliseum, where UGA's basketball and gymnastics teams compete.
Athletic association officials plan to renovate the Stegeman concourse and close in giant roof overhangs on two sides of the coliseum with huge walls of glass, adding about 10,000 square feet of new lobby space.