Georgia State baseball and softball will have new facilities built, and both will carry heavy significance. Georgia State will construct the new stadiums near old Fulton County Stadium, the site of the late Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th career home run.
Aaron’s legacy transcends sports and is a symbol of civil rights and equality for all. Georgia State hopes to continue to honor his presence with the arrival of new facilities. Following the passing of Aaron in January, Georgia State announced it would construct a museum in honor of his legacy.
Georgia State is closely working with Aaron’s widow, Billye Aaron, on the proper design for the stadium. The memorial will sit directly between the baseball and softball facilities as a 24/7 tribute to the sports and civil rights icon.
The legacy of Aaron will be at the center of the new stadium highlighting the heritage of Aaron’s contribution to the city. The significance of such a move will tie the past and present together and honor Aaron’s impact on Atlanta.
Georgia State estimates the cost of the memorial will be in the $10M range in private funds. The stadium will be much larger than the one in Panthersville, holding 2,500 fans. However, the new facility will also keep parts of the old stadium intact to ensure that the history of Aaron is alive and thriving.
For some, the construction of new stadiums for baseball and softball is long overdue. Both programs play in Panthersville, far and away from the Downtown Campus. The connection to Aaron’s legacy will be vital to tying both programs to the city’s history.
“The new stadium will definitely help put GSU baseball on the map.” Ben Moore of 247 Sports said. “The program will get a boost playing in the downtown campus.”
Moore is also excited about the addition of the memorial and how it can positively impact the program.
“Georgia State wants to leave their footprint downtown,” Moore said.
Both the softball and baseball programs enter new eras as both seek to put their respective programs on the map. In particular, the baseball program is coming off a season that saw impressive wins over the likes of Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt.
Baseball head coach Brad Stromdahl believes the new facility will aid in getting recruits and cherish Aaron’s legacy. In addition, Stromdahl thinks that the park honoring Aaron will add to the foundation of the baseball program going forward.
“I’m looking forward to the new stadium and the Hank Aaron museum,” Stromdahl said. “[Aaron] is an iconic figure and to honor him at our new facility is great for our program and the city.”
Stromdahl is also excited that the stadium will reflect the growth of the program. The museum’s addition will create an added sense of atmosphere and add another event to the stadium.
The addition of the memorial is something that will look to attract new fans to the stadium in hopes of visiting the museum. While there is no date to break ground, the latest renderings and the museum’s addition only exceed the stadium’s completion.
Construction of the softball and baseball stadiums is the final Georgia State building a cohesive athletics community. Starting with the acquisition of Turner Field, Georgia State looks to transform Summerhill into its image completely. The addition of a memorial and museum dedicated to the great Aaron will go a long way for the future of Georgia State athletics.