Originally created 02/20/01

School changes plan for parking garage



University of Georgia athletic officials briefly went into panic mode last week when they saw the giant shadow a planned parking deck would cast on the campus' Henry Feild Tennis Stadium and the next-door National Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

But the big five-story parking deck was rotated away from the tennis complex after former tennis coach Dan Magill, men's tennis coach Manuel Diaz and others raised objections.

The deck is one of four new buildings that will dramatically change the look of the campus around the parking lot outside Stegeman Coliseum on South Campus. The parking deck will be the first of the four to go up.

Using a new "fast track" construction method, the deck could be completed within four months of the start of construction, said Tom Jackson, University of Georgia associate vice president for public affairs.

Instead of pouring concrete on site, a construction company will haul in precast pieces of the deck, then assemble them, Mr. Jackson said. The 800-vehicle deck is expected to be in place by the time the football season begins this fall.

By rotating its long axis 90 degrees, it will be parallel to the tennis complex and farther from it. In initial drawings, it was perpendicular to the tennis site, with the deck's end almost touching the front steps of the National Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

"I didn't know anything about it until (Feb. 12), and it looked like the plans for a five-story parking deck would have the end pretty close to the Henry Feild Tennis Stadium and the National (Collegiate) Tennis Hall of Fame, which concerned us a lot," Mr. Magill said.

The plans Mr. Magill saw showed the deck coming up almost to the doorstep of the hall of fame, which faces the coliseum parking lot.

Campus Architect Danny Sniff, Associate Athletic Director Damon Evans, the university's President Michael Adams and others met Thursday afternoon on the site and decided to rotate the deck away from the tennis facilities, according to Tom Landrum, executive assistant to Mr. Adams. It will be shifted closer to the parking lot's main entrance and farther away from the tennis complex.

"It looks like things are going to be worked out," Mr. Magill said.

Rotating the deck will actually cut the cost of building it, said Danny Sniff, director of the Facilities Planning Office.

According to a campus "master plan" the school adopted two years ago, a different parking deck was originally scheduled to be built on the far side of the parking lot, across the street from the university's College of Veterinary Medicine and near the McWhorter Hall dormitory. The deck would have snuggled inside a bracket-shaped building facing the veterinary college.

But that site has now been taken by the $40 million Paul D. Coverdell Building for Biomedical and Health Sciences, announced Jan. 13 after two U.S. senators, Zell Miller of Georgia and Phil Gramm of Texas, pledged to get $10 million in federal tax dollars to help fund the project.

The parking deck is needed because of the surface parking that will be lost to the Coverdell building, Mr. Landrum said.

"We're trying to plan for the replacement of parking that will be lost by siting this building on this lot," he said.

Two other buildings, both being built with private money by the University of Georgia Athletic Association, are set to begin construction in the not-too-distant future.

The first is the Student Achievement Center, a $7.85 million building set to go up on the site of the Alumni House - demolished by a wrecking crew Thursday. s.}

The second is a $21 million indoor athletic practice facility across Rutherford Street from the Student Achievement Center.