Turner Field transformed: Georgia State Stadium officially opens - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Turner Field transformed: Georgia State Stadium officially opens

(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

It is the beginning of a new era.

Turner Field is no more. The stadium has been transformed into Georgia State Stadium. The new stadium hosted its first college football game ever Thursday. It's also the first time the football team has ever played in a stadium of their own.

GSU reports the game was sold out. People packed into their new 22,000-seat stadium to watch the team play here for the first time. After paying $22.8 million for the property, it took the school just six months to complete the dramatic makeover of the stadium.

“In a sense, it is a magical moment, we have waited so long for this,” contended Mark Becker, president of Georgia State University.

While nods to the rich Olympic and baseball history remain, there is no question the venue is all about football and Georgia State.

“From a branding stand point, we wanted it to say Georgia State…all the iconic moments, we want to add our own,” explained Charlie Cobb, director of athletics at GSU.

Panther fans showed up hours early tailgating on their home turf for the first time.

“We have never seen this many fans. They are sold out, that’s a first time,” Traci Curney, the mom of a GSU football player told CBS46 at a tailgate.

“The big problem holding us back is we didn’t have that big identifiable mark, but now every time somebody drives down or up I-75, they are going to see Georgia State Stadium,” argued Joseph Gilbert, who was part of the first Georgia State football team in 2010.

Looking back, he says he never could have dreamed just seven years later, his team would call such an iconic stadium home.

“This was a daydream…and now that we are here, it is just amazing,” Gilbert beamed.

The stadium is just one part of the transformation that will be taking place. Developers plan on adding shops, offices, and of course, student housing around Georgia State Stadium in the Summerhill neighborhood.

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