Georgia State University takes up former Atlanta Olympic, Braves stadium
Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 1996 Olympic Games, is now home to the Georgia State University (GSU) Panthers, according to Curbed Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves previously called the stadium home as Turner Field for two decades.
The baseball-to-football conversion is complete, but school officials plan to come up with a new seating design and add new amenities as part of the long-term redevelopment of the stadium and the surrounding area.
GSU planned to share the Atlanta Falcons' new Mercedes-Benz stadium, just as it had the Georgia Dome since 2010. But the university, along with a private partner, instead decided to buy the former Olympic venue for $30 million, with $26 million going toward renovations, according to SBNation.
In what is supposed to be a celebration of the world's athletes coming together in the spirit of friendly competition, the construction of Olympic stadiums can be a controversial undertaking. Stadium costs factor significantly into what University of Oxford researchers have found to be an average Olympic project cost overrun of 156%, the MIT Technology Review reported.
Preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games are currently underway in Tokyo, which has seen its costs soar already. Organizers ordered a do-over of one stadium's design after the proposal from late architect Zaha Hadid was deemed too extravagant and futuristic-looking for Japanese sensibilities. Instead, the country's Olympic committee put the stadium out to bid again and chose a less expensive, more traditional layout from Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
Although developers of such projects often cite the long-term benefits to the local community, the facilities often go unused or become an economic burden on their neighbors after the Games end.
In 2015, Business Insider reported that several of Brazil's $3 billion worth of 2014 World Cup stadiums are sitting unused while others are losing money hosting various sporting and other events.
Los Angeles is aiming to avoid cost overruns entirely by taking a conservative route for the 2028 Summer Games. Planners said they don't intend to undertake major construction projects but will instead use existing sports venues. Officials also said they will use university housing in lieu of a new Olympic Village and that the $5.3 billion cost of the Games will be paid for by sponsorships and ticket sales.
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