Alum donates $3.5 million for indoor facility

If approved by the Board of Trustees, the Athletic Association (AA) is set to get a new Indoor training facility for the Tech football team. The 80,000 square-foot covered training facility will be built in place of the existing artificial surface that is located behind the outfield of the Russ Chandler stadium.

John F. Brock, the current CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises and Tech alum, B.S. ChE ‘70 and MS ChE ‘71, and his wife Mary Brock donated $3.5 million of the estimated $6-7 million dollar indoor facility.

Construction will begin at the end of the current football season and will be done by Aug. 2011, in time for the 2011 football preseason.

“Early in Paul Johnson’s tenure as coach, we discussed the importance of having a place where the team could practice away from the elements,” said Athletic Director Dan Radakovich.

“The facility is something we have wanted for some time. We have previously used the Georgia Dome and the Falcons practice facility in Flowery Branch. But often there are timing issues with the use of those buildings. John Brock and his wife, Mary Brock ,have been long time supporters of Tech and saw the need for such a facility too. Dan Radakovich, Paul Johnson and Jack Thompson approached the Brocks, who were very receptive,” said Dean Buchan, Assistant Athletic Director.

The football team currently has two practice fields: an artificial surface and another natural grass field, both of which are located behind the Russ Chandler stadium.

“The purpose of the facility would be to allow the team to practice when weather conditions might otherwise postpone, shorten or cancel practices. The Atlanta heat and humidity impacts our August practices right now, and there may be times when more can be accomplished in the indoor facility,” said a Georgia Tech Athletic Association (GTAA) Spokesman.

“The new facility will provide us with significantly more efficiency in scheduling our practice sessions. Having a new facility will give us many more options,” said Head Coach Paul Johnson.

The construction would make Tech one of the few teams in the Atlantic Coast Division (ACC) with such a facility.

“Virginia Tech and Clemson have indoor facilities and some others may too, but the majority of ACC teams don’t. Certainly a nice indoor facility will only help recruiting efforts,” Buchan said.

The GTAA is finalizing some of the key features like the capacity, training facilities etc. Contracts for the project are expected to be awarded following the Board of Regents’ meeting on Oct. 12 in Atlanta.

Though the stadium was something the GTAA wanted for some time, it was The Brock’s generosity that made it a reality.

“The role of the GTAA was to move the project forward. John Brock did all the heavy lifting,” Buchan said.

“We are confident that our gift will encourage other alumni to provide additional financial giving across both academic and athletic opportunities. For many years, Georgia Tech football has been a tremendous source of pride and enjoyment for Mary and me, and we look forward to its continued winning program,” Brock said.