STATESBORO — The Georgia Board of Regents has approved two new student fees for Georgia Southern University students; a $25 per semester fee to expand Paulson Stadium and a fee to help fund a potential move to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Regents’ approval is required for any new student fee and follows a record turnout and approval by GSU students in September.
The stadium expansion fee will go into effect next fall and will expire when the project has been paid. A construction date has not been set.
In addition to the $25 fee, the Regents also approved taking $15 of the current $154 athletic fee to help build a football operations center near the stadium. It will provide coaches’ offices, rooms for team meeting, lockers, rehabilitation and weight training, and the school’s football hall of fame.
“We are extremely grateful to the University System of Georgia and to the Board of Regents for their guidance and support during this process,” school President Brooks Keel, Ph.D. said. “Whether it is in the area of academics, research, sustainability, economic development or athletics, our goal is to take Georgia Southern University to the next level.”
Following the student vote in September, Student Government Association President Dominique Quarles said, “This vote wasn’t just about today, but to improve Georgia Southern for future generations of Eagles.”
The Regents’ approval came one day after the university announced that it had hired Tom Kleinlein as its new athletic director. He is now deputy director of athletics at Kent State.
The fee will be used to increase the seating capacity of the stadium by more than 6,300 seats. The addition will be an upper deck to the student/visitor side. Currently, the stadium has 4,000 seats for students. With a record 20,500 students attending Georgia Southern this fall, only 25 percent of students were able to get seats during home games.
The increase will also position GSU for a move to the FBS.
The expansion will also provide additional seating for ceremonies and special events. The stadium currently has 14,444 seats. Each spring, the stadium is filled to capacity and beyond with more than 23,000 family members and friends at commencement.
This $75 fee will support GSU football’s move to a new level of competition as well as a move to a new athletic conference. Georgia Southern has expressed interest in competing with other major universities in the FBS series. The state does not fund athletic operations. The fee to support the potential move to FBS will not go into effect until Georgia Southern is offered and accepts an invitation to join an FBS conference. The fee would begin the first full semester after joining the FBS.