Apparently, you need not be the nation’s No. 1-ranked college football program for a top-flight Dawg house these days.

This week the University of Georgia’s Butts-Mehre Track and Field project took home the top prize in the “Education under 50,000 square feet category” at the 16th Annual Design Awards for the New England Chapter of the International Interior Design Association.

UGA’s Butts-Mehre upgrade was designed by the SLAM architecture firm, the same company that helped design Georgia State’s new basketball arena and forthcoming baseball facilities in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood.

IIDA New England represents more than 12,000 members, and its awards ceremony was held this week in Boston’s historic South End neighborhood.

Photos by Rick Myers Photography

Photos by Rick Myers Photography

SLAM officials said in an announcement today the goal of UGA’s new track and field locker room was to complement the school’s “outstanding program” that boasts “some of the best track and field athletes in the country, many of whom represent the U.S. in the Olympic games.”

Heavy on Nike branding, sleek modern aesthetics, and symbolic track lanes across virtually every surface, the locker room’s section of the building previously housed football facilities. Now it’s meant to function as a “showpiece” during track-and-field, cross country, and field sports recruiting tours while protecting gear and strengthening athletes’ bodies and minds, according to SLAM reps.

What’s that mean exactly?

Located directly off track venues, a new “mudroom” section includes high-end shoe dryers and what’s described as “branded super graphics.” Another section includes a corridor filled with memorabilia and UGA branding that aims to reinforce “a legacy of excellence with each passage.” The visitor suite entry could double as an upscale shoe store.

What's considered the facility's mudroom. Photos by Rick Myers Photography

Photos by Rick Myers Photography

The kicker could be a beauty bar for the women’s section that’s meant to prove the “look good, play good” adage true in sports of mostly individual events.

“The strength and character of Coach [Caryl Smith Gilbert] and her team was epitomized in this highly branded environment that supports nutrition, preparation, downtime, historical inspiration, and current super stars,” SLAM senior associate Tracy Herzer said in a prepared statement.

The visitor suite entrance of what's considered a "showpiece" for UGA recruiting. Photos by Rick Myers Photography

The onsite beautification station. Photos by Rick Myers Photography

For a deeper dive, here’s a video of UGA athletes jubilantly seeing the facility for the first time earlier this year.


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