One year out: what Georgia Sate’s Convocation Center provides for the future

Georgia State coaches and staff share their excitement about the new basketball facility coming in 2022. Photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

Georgia State is exactly one year away from opening its doors to the long-awaited Convocation Center.

The Panthers’ investment into their athletics programs is finally coming to fruition after much anticipation and brief stoppage caused by the pandemic. The new state-of-the-art facility is opening in August 2022. Across campus, the excitement is continuing to grow. 

Georgia State’s new facility will host between 7,000 to 8,000 fans for basketball games, concerts and commencement ceremonies. Plans for The Convocation Center have been in the making since 2019 to revitalize the Summerhill area. 

Georgia State officially broke ground on the $85.2 project on Nov. 20, with former Georgia State University President Mark Becker in attendance.

Head coach Bryan Lanier and assistant athletic director Mike Holmes give their takes on the convocation center opening in 2022. Photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

 Georgia State believes the new stadium will be an immediate booster for student interaction and overall game attendance. The GSU Sports Arena holds just over 3,200, and with the Panthers’ rise in popularity, the program is overdue for an upgrade. 

However, students have packed the small arena and created electric atmospheres over the years. This atmosphere has made games against the Georgia Southern Eagles and Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns must-see events. 

Some are nervous that the change in venues could hurt overall attendance. Still, head coach Rob Lanier is not worried about attendance based on the consistent support of his two seasons in the sports arena.

“I’m not worried about lacking attendance at games,” Lanier said. “We’ve always had tremendous support from students, and I expect that to continue as we move into our new home.”

The Convocation Center looks to improve the basketball program and add another area of entertainment for students and alumni. A 2019 poll from Stadium asked ‘a handful’ of Sun Belt Conference coaches to rank programs based on several categories. Georgia State finished second to Louisiana-Lafayette.

While coming in second in the conference is nothing to sneeze at, the major weakness noted by rival coaches was the quality of the facilities. One of the coaches that participated in the poll lambasted the current Sports Arena.

The [facilities] are one of the worst in the league. They play on the fifth floor of a class building. It’s got the feel of a high school gym,” the Sun Belt head coach told Stadium.

Georgia State built the GSU Sports Arena in 1973 with no intention of hosting major games for a successful mid-major basketball program. The new center aims to be a premier college basketball facility, hosting talented non-conference opponents. 

Ben Moore of 247 Sports revealed that the new stadium’s construction has already had a tremendous impact. 

“The new players are definitely excited about playing in the stadium,” Moore said. “The new facility is already playing a significant role in recruiting for the basketball program.”

Assistant Athletic Director Mike Holmes also shared his excitement about the construction of the convocation center. 

“I can’t wait for the first game inside. “ Holmes said. “It’s [Convocation Center] is a game-changer for the basketball program and Georgia State.” 

The stadium, once completed, looks to be the crown jewel of basketball in the Sun Belt Conference. The Convocation Center will be one of the large-scale stadiums in the conference and the best scenery with glass displaying the beauty of downtown Atlanta. 

The Convocation Center will be opening its doors in August of 2022, hosting in-town rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.