Education

More News | |

Talks early, but Georgia Health Sciences University sees former Golf and Gardens for research

  • Follow Government

A Georgia Health Sciences University administrator met “very briefly” Friday with those discussing a potential development that could include a stadium on the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame property, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said Monday.

Ricardo Azziz  File/Staff
File/Staff
Ricardo Azziz

But so far, the only proposal the school has made is one last year to develop it as a potential site for a research park, part of an eight-year plan to improve the university, he said.

A cold waylaid Azziz on Friday and over the weekend, so he was still learning some of the details Monday.

Phil Howard, the vice president for facilities service at GHSU, “met very briefly” with Jacoby Development and members of the city about potential plans for that site, Azziz said.

It was the second meeting the university has had with the developers, and Azziz said his understanding was that they were trying to assess the university’s needs.

“I think in many ways, they may be looking for tenants,” he said.

While he was not in that meeting, City Administrator Fred Russell said the discussion he heard Friday centered around potentially accommodating needs for student housing, research and, possibly, sports like baseball or soccer at a multiuse facility.

“I don’t think there’s anything off the table,” he said, because everything is just at the proposal stage. With the merging of Augusta State University and GHSU, however, it is a chance to take a fresh look at where plans are going, he said.

“I think we’ve got another opportunity to look at,” Russell said.

The only use GHSU has pitched for the site, however, is for a biotech research park.

Azziz said the idea was discussed with Chris Cummiskey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and is part of an eight-year advancement plan that has been shared with University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Gov. Nathan Deal. That plan is to become a top 50 research university by 2020, and more details will emerge in the next couple of months as the plans come together, Azziz said.

As far as the former Golf Hall site, “this is all very exploratory,” he said. “From my point of view, these are all interesting discussions. All of this should be entertained. But the truth is, we don’t know very much about it.

“And at the end of the day, we will be measuring this according to what we think the economic impact is on the city and on the growth potential of our university.”

Staff Writer Susan McCord contributed to this article.

Comments (23) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
countyman
20129
Points
countyman 01/17/12 - 03:14 am
0
0
I love the idea of building

I love the idea of building student housing in the CBD... The idea makes perfect sense due to a large portion of students already living downtown or around the CBD(Summerville and Oldetown).

Certain posters don't want the public to hear the city, GHSU officials, and Jacoby development are meeting together.. They want you to believe Jim Jacoby being apart the development is a figment of imagination, because it hurts their argument. Jim Jacoby doesn't baseball stadiums across the US(i.e. Atlantic Station in Atlanta), and he's behind the multi-use part of the development.. The baseball stadium near Harrisburg can't be compared to a multi-use facility(residential, retail, restaurants), and GHSU buildings..

Major developers similar to Jim Jacoby signal downtown Augusta is on the map... Rural Sourcing 100 high paying IT jobs, corporate offices/open air seating/urban market at Sprint Food & Metro Market next to Augusta Common, 34 condos in the Whites Building, secure parking gated access at the Whites warehouse(connected via skywalk to the Whites Building, Fort Discovery, WJBF former studio, Downtown Barroom, Red Star building, 967 Broad Four new Apts, 566 Broad street mix-use, 220-222 6th street new apts, Killer B Disc Golf, 6 degrees Outdoor/Sporting Goods, expanded Soy Noodle House, etc.. The private construction continues to happen all over the CBD..

Jilly Bean
0
Points
Jilly Bean 01/17/12 - 03:05 am
0
0
I am so exictied about the

I am so exictied about the future of downtown Augusta and this will happen sooner than later.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 01/17/12 - 05:49 am
0
0
I've said forever student

I've said forever student housing in the city is what should be done. Building more housing on Wrightsboro is a wasted opportunity. ASU and now GSHU can branch out over the city with housing, facilities and offices. This could save Augusta bringing thousand of young residents into the city with the spin-off businesses.

Not that any of this is related to the baseball stadium on the river. I gave my thoughts about what is going to happen on the other thread. Deke says it's going to happen so I assume Greenjacket Stadium goes to ASU.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 01/17/12 - 07:49 am
0
0
I've been against the
Unpublished

I've been against the baseball stadium downtown for the sole reason that there is nothing wrong with the current stadium....but- if it's part of a research park and student housing which would bring more students downtown (and their money) it just might work. Any new restaurants could be used by current and future local downtown residents year round and the occasional convention at the TEE center could give those same businesses a boost when they're in town.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 01/17/12 - 08:40 am
0
0
If the university wants

If the university wants student housing, then fine, buy the land from the state properties commission and build housing. If the university wants a research park, then fine, buy the land and build the research park.

But I draw the line at the university buying the land so that the city government can build a baseball park for Cal Ripken. Ripken is a billionaire with more liquid assets than the city government has.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/17/12 - 08:41 am
0
0
When Louisiana Gov. Huey Long

When Louisiana Gov. Huey Long asked lawmakers for money to build LSU's football stadium, they told him no, citing the Great Depression.

Huey Long then asked for money to build new dorms and the lawmakers conceded.

Huey Long then built a football stadium. You can still see the dorm rooms inside the stadium.

Is history repeating itself?

augusta citizen
9355
Points
augusta citizen 01/17/12 - 09:19 am
0
0
I agree Little Lamb, I also

I agree Little Lamb, I also wonder if Joe Bowles will comment on this. He recently commented that a new stadium wasn't on the radar.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 01/17/12 - 09:53 am
0
0
augusta citizen, its probably

augusta citizen, its probably out of their hands at this point. i think countyman probably drags the bodies out of downtown to keep its crime rate low. whoops, sorry. i'm just cranky this morning.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 10:10 am
0
0
And if the school decides to

And if the school decides to pass on that property, I guess we can all go on watching it being utilized so effectively. Granted the site is premium dirt being on the river not to mention it's proximity to downtown. It just hasn't yielded much of nothing for too long. Sorry, but the opportunities to "rock it" have been on the table the whole time for someone interested and capable. I guess someone w/ those qualities has taken the lead now.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 01/17/12 - 10:41 am
0
0
David Parker, whatcha talking

David Parker, whatcha talking bout? The land belongs to the state. Impossible for anyone to rock it unless they own it. Now if you want to open it for bids from the private sector great. If the state intends to give the land to someone, let's open up the process to all of us.

twentieth century man
102
Points
twentieth century man 01/17/12 - 10:53 am
0
0
I wonder if the time has come

I wonder if the time has come for a legal defense fund to protect these two institutions from the contemplated private-public partnership, which may be more legally vulnerable than a pure state endeavor re: sovereign immunity. Augusta lost its regent during mid-decade redistricting. Before being executed these ideas should be thoroughly tested legally at the local, state, and federal levels. We should not rely on the opinion of the Georgia attorney general.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 11:09 am
0
0
maybe not on the table then.

maybe not on the table then. But the failure of it being utilized properly is still relevant. If we all have the equal say in every decision making process, there is no need for representation. Our system over the last 200 plus years has been unnecessary no? The city, state, and whoever else has a stake in right to the property believe this is an appropriate usage. I stand by my comment though RMan1. If someone, anyone, came to the owners and brought good ideas and funding, I doubt the city would have categorically dismiss them.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 01/17/12 - 11:20 am
0
0
Augusta Citizen, Yes this is

Augusta Citizen, Yes this is still off our radar screen because the latest discussions involves no County fuding.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 01/17/12 - 11:28 am
0
0
Sorry Joe but if you aren't
Unpublished

Sorry Joe but if you aren't at the meeting and Russell is you have no idea what financing is being discussed. The voters are against it there is nothing wrong with the stadium you have and the voters are watching. Let Ripken build it and if he threatens to leave let him. The voters of ARC should not allow a business man to blackmail them no matter how much of a man crush the Mayor has on him.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 11:43 am
0
0
Well that's a relief to Rman

Well that's a relief to Rman i bet.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 11:44 am
0
0
if we could jez stop all the

if we could jez stop all the daggum County feuding.

OJP
6666
Points
OJP 01/17/12 - 11:50 am
0
0
Definitely support this.

Definitely support this. Harrisburg and the area between Central and Walton Way are already seeing an influx of young professionals and students.

This could really be a turning point for downtown!

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 01/17/12 - 12:02 pm
0
0
Seems to me that a

Seems to me that a multi-purpose baseball stadium/entertainment center would be more useful and awesome. Wasn't it Azziz that said Augusta "isnt cool". A large stadium and entertainment center would make sense to me to help make Augusta a cooler city.

faithson
5158
Points
faithson 01/17/12 - 12:17 pm
0
0
which is the whole point Joe

which is the whole point Joe Bowles... let's hope it stays that way.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 01/17/12 - 01:44 pm
0
0
Don't you just love that mug

Don't you just love that mug shot!

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 01/17/12 - 01:53 pm
0
0
Joe Bowles says no county

Joe Bowles says no county funding, but I'll bet it requires Olmstead Stadium going to ASU. So in a way, that's county funding.

GeezeLouise
0
Points
GeezeLouise 01/17/12 - 04:03 pm
0
0
This is directed at
Unpublished

This is directed at commissioner Joe Bowles. You are saying this was not on your radar because this new plan involves no funding from the county. Ok, so then why was a county employee, Fred Russell, involved in these negotiations on Friday? Doesn't his time cost the county taxpayers money? How long was he meeting with Ripken Baseball officials, this Jacoby Devt group, and GHSU administration? So are county taxpayers paying Mr Russell to be a BROKER for Ripken Baseball and this devt group? I would think that is something that you should know about? Why didn't Russell inform his superiors (the commissioners) of what he was doing? If the county is not involved then then why is the county administrator neck deep in all of this? Plus, this sounds like something that was sprung on GHSU administration out of the blue. It seems to me Russell should have other things to concern himself with, like finding ways to fill the budget gaps.

GeezeLouise
0
Points
GeezeLouise 01/17/12 - 04:10 pm
0
0
I am curious though, how does
Unpublished

I am curious though, how does a baseball stadium fit into the needs of the GHSU/ASU merger? I'm assuming that the college baseball season coincides with the Greenjackets season. So what does the university get out of this? Lake Olmstead stadium? That doesn't really sounds like a fair trade to me. Are they expecting the state to pay for this new multi-use stadium downtown? How could it be used by the University AND the Greenjackets simultaneously? I think Azziz has the right idea. This should be for research and student housing. A ballpark would be a waste of space there. How often is a ballpark filled? Student housing is filled all the time and college kids tend to patronize downtown establishments more. But I am still curious why Fred Russell is even involved in this if there is no county participation.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/12 - 04:23 pm
0
0
I figured Mr Russell's job

I figured Mr Russell's job was City Administrator. He better be in that meeting and taking notes.

GeezeLouise
0
Points
GeezeLouise 01/17/12 - 04:29 pm
0
0
well Augusta Richmond county
Unpublished

well Augusta Richmond county is a consolidated government so you are just arguing semantics. But if this is a deal between Ripken and GHSU, involving no committment from the city/county then there is no reason for Russell to be involved. And if he was orchestrating this on behalf of a private company; that is something the commissioners should have been made aware of. I don't trust Fred Russell any farther than I can throw him, and by now the commissioners should realize that Russell cannot be trusted. Not after the debacles with the parking deck and the pay raises. Russell has a bad habit of making secret back room deals with 3rd parties and keeping the commissioners out of the loop. Here is yet another example of that.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 01/18/12 - 06:52 am
0
0
After hearing Mayor

After hearing Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman on TV praising the coming stadium deal and, as GeezeLouise says about Russell being involved in the negotiations with Ripken, anyone who believes the county is not involved is drinking from the river right below the water treatment plant.

Right on
187
Points
Right on 01/19/12 - 04:53 pm
0
0
The stadium was a done deal

The stadium was a done deal when the mayor, along with reps from the visitors and convention bureau and sports council elected to spend money to do a feasibility study to support it. The group was hired to make it work and not to look at the negatives. A selling tool to the commission and citizens.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 01/19/12 - 05:33 pm
0
0
I don't know about that,

I don't know about that, Right On. The city has paid for hundreds of feasibility studies at a cost of more than a million dollars that have never been brought to fruition. They are sitting on shelves gathering dust or buried at the landfill.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Vogtle workers see both reactor projects

Some veterans of the nuclear industry were at the site south of Augusta to see the complex network of rebar and concrete rising out of the ground in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, they are back.
Search Augusta jobs