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First-Time Homeowners

A nascent football program has moved into one of Atlanta’s most iconic venues

After seven years at the Georgia Dome, Georgia State has moved outdoors. Heery International photo

A venue best known for being the site where a trio of Hall of Fame pitchers spun gems and Olympic athletes broke records is now the home of the Georgia State football team.

On Aug. 31, the Panthers debuted in the newly christened Georgia State Stadium, formerly known as Turner Field, where the Atlanta Braves were residents from 1997 to 2016. The facility originally was dubbed Centennial Olympic Stadium, hosting the 1996 Summer Games’ opening and closing ceremonies and track and field events.

Georgia State, which started its football program in 2010 and held home games in the cavernous Georgia Dome, purchased the facility earlier this year. The Panthers hope to add football achievements to the memorable moments that have taken place on those grounds, which include hundreds of wins amassed by the Braves’ Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, as well as Michael Johnson’s world-record performance in the 200-meter dash.

Atlanta-based architect Heery International crafted all three versions of the downtown stadium. It held 85,000 when it opened for the Olympics. After the Games were finished, it was transformed into a 49,000-seat baseball venue. For Georgia State games, it will hold a cozy 25,000. “There will not be a bad seat in the house,” Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb says.

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