Demolition began last week on the old dining hall at the University of North Georgia's Dahlonega Campus, and plans are in motion to construct intramural fields for that space.
The demolition, which involves complete removal of the structure, systems and components of the building, was incorporated into the most recent master plan in 2010, at which time the site was programmed for a recreational field.
"We're currently working through the design process to identify the best solution for placing recreational sports fields on the site," said Jace Oliver, project manager for facilities and operations on the Dahlonega Campus. "The demolition should be complete by the end of the year, and construction of the fields is currently projected to be finished by late spring 2014."
The Student Government Association will fund half the cost of the design and construction of the recreational fields, with preliminary estimated cost for the fields coming in at $533,000.
The new space is expected to alleviate some of the stress on the Gen. William "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field. As one of the only central, open-area locations on campus able to host large crowds or sporting activities, the field sustains considerable use.
"Students have been needing more space for intramural activities and organization events," said Raj Sagoo, president of the Dahlonega Campus Student Government Association. "One of my major initiatives has been to take care of that issue. We had been discussing the possibility of an intramural complex off campus, but that wasn't coming together. In light of the old dining hall being torn down anyway, I began meeting with President Bonita Jacobs and Mac McConnell, senior vice president for business and finance, and we made the decision to have that area turned into two fields, complete with lighting fixtures, to allow for more team sport activities and more events."
Among those sports are intramural soccer, flag football, cornhole, whiffle ball, ultimate Frisbee, and others that currently rely on the drill field for adequate space.
The installation of the fields is the completion of a full-circle journey for the location. In the 1980s, the old dining hall replaced a baseball field that also was used by university students for informal games and sports. In April, a commemorative marker was installed to mark the former location of the baseball field.