LAWRENCEVILLE -- While foundations were being laid, while dugouts were being constructed, while playing surfaces were being leveled in Lawrenceville, the grass was growing a couple of hundred miles away.
Georgia Gwinnett College is preparing to open brand-new baseball and softball complexes, as well as a host of other facilities as the spring athletic seasons approach.
The Grizzlies will hit the fields in February while construction of the $13.5 million varsity athletic complex hums along near the campus' main entrance on Collins Hill Road.
"It's extremely impressive, the work that's been done," athletic director Darin Wilson said. "With each step of the project, we've seen it on paper, we've seen the plans, now to see it actually all come together, it's going to be spectacular."
In September, GGC opened its synthetic turf soccer field, which sits just below the current construction site.
Now it's time for the inaugural baseball and softball seasons.
The Grizzlies' new home for baseball includes an 800-seat stadium, a press box and a natural grass playing field. The softball complex has seating for 500 with a similar press box and playing surface. Both fields were grown and manicured in southern Georgia prior to their arrival in Lawrenceville and will boast state-of-the-art drainage and irrigation systems.
Dugouts on each field have been installed while the bleachers begin to take shape behind the backstop areas. A separate batting cage is being built adjacent to the home team bullpen.
"I've said several times over the last year and a half, since I was hired, you only get one chance to do this right," Wilson said. "From hiring coaches to the facilities and the surfaces, we're going to get it right.
"Stadium-wise, I'm really pleased. As we continue to grow, we'll raise funds and do things that will enhance it, but starting on Day 1, it's going to be impressive. From up on the hill, all the way around the building, it's going to be a great view. What really excites me is when we'll light it up for the first time."
The 25,000-square foot, two-story athletics building will include office space for coaches and administration, team locker rooms, a weight room, training areas and academic support space. It also has reception and storage areas, laundry facilities and an elevator.
The foundation, framing and levels of the structure have been installed as crews work to outfit the interior of the building.
It's expected to open later in the spring.
"We're ready to move," Wilson said. "The college has been great, providing us with a nice space to this point. But it changes the game when we have our own building.
"It's going to have a great training room, weight room and, obviously, locker rooms."
Meanwhile, the Grizzly tennis teams are set to open their seasons in early February at GGC's retrofitted facility just north of main campus on Collins Hill Road. It has 16 courts and boasts a weight room and team space.
Excellent facilities are a big advantage when it comes to recruiting and GGC is laying the foundation for that right now.
"The college itself is very attractive, but to have this type of facility puts the icing on the cake," Wilson said.