MGA Receives Federal Grant To Build Pavilion At Cross-Country Course, Expand Recreation Tourism For Community

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2022 12:00 AM
Categories: Faculty/Staff | Events- Public | Pressroom

Macon, GA


Middle Georgia State University (MGA) is receiving $1.24 million in federal funding to build athletic facilities connected by a pavilion at its Georgia Premier cross-country course on the Macon Campus. The project will allow the University to collaborate with Macon-Bibb to host high-profile recreational activities that draw visitors from across the state.

The source of the $1.24 million is the Economic Development Administration using funds provided through the federal American Rescue Plan, part of which was designed to help communities boost local tourism and hospitality industries that suffered downturns during the COVID pandemic. With the additions and related infrastructure improvements to Georgia Premier, MGA expects to be able to generate nearly $1 million a year in economic activity connected to events that take place at the venue.

“We are grateful for this confidence in Middle Georgia State’s potential to play a major role in organizing and hosting recreational events that draw substantial public interest and help promote tourism in the Macon area,” said Dr. Christopher Blake, MGA president. “The Georgia Premier is already an outstanding venue for our cross-country team but the potential is there to transform it into a recreational dynamo that pumps tourism dollars into our community every year.”

Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller strongly supports the project.

“We are extremely excited about this announcement and future opportunities for Middle Georgia State and our region and state,” Miller said. “One of the areas we, as a community, are focusing on based on public input is the need to increase recreation and tourism opportunities, and we’re honored to have MGA be an active part of Team Macon-Bibb in that effort.”

The project calls for the construction of two climate-controlled buildings connected by an open pavilion near the Fulton Mill Road entrance of Georgia Premier. The closed buildings will house locker rooms, restrooms, concessions, audio/visual, athlete prep rooms, and more. The plan also calls for new construction of paved parking and a gravel access road, as well as light pole installation and brick signage.

In 2020-2021, MGA hosted more than 6,000 people at Georgia Premier events, which included cross-country competitions and a major cyclocross race. The University plans to collaborate with Visit Macon to promote the course as the statewide designation for the annual cross-country state finals and as a central hub for cyclocross races and similar activities.

One of the finest courses in the state, Georgia Premier offers running loops of two, three, and five miles, and farther. It boasts certification of distance from cross-country sanctioning bodies and has a starting line capacity of more than 100 runners.

Located on the edge of the MGA Macon Campus, Georgia Premier is easily accessible from I-75, with many lodging and eating establishments within a short drive. It has large, accommodating parking areas and is a very “viewer-friendly” course, offering spectator vantage points at several areas.