Courtesy Heery International

This month (year, really) is a big one for Atlanta sports fans. The city's national football league and major league baseball teams have both left their longtime homes in favor of new stadiums: The Atlanta Falcons left the Georgia Dome for the new, adjacent Mercedes-Benz Stadium, designed by HOK, and the Atlanta Braves baseball team left Turner Field for SunTrust Park, designed by Populous. And now, in a bit of stadium musical chairs, Georgia State University's football team, the Panthers, will play their first (sold-out) regular-season game tonight in a revamped Turner Field, which has been renamed the Georgia State Stadium. (The Georgia Dome was not so lucky—that structure is scheduled to be imploded in November and will be replaced by the Home Depot Backyard parking and events space, according to SB Nation.)

Courtesy Heery International

Local firm Heery International has designed and redesigned the Turner Field site several times: The firm designed the original 1996 Olympic facility, the subsequent conversion to the Braves' Turner Field, and the latest baseball-to-football conversion. "So many stadiums are torn down and discarded, and you don’t know what’s going to take their place," says Mike Holleman, AIA, Heery's director of sports facilities design and the principal in charge of the Georgia State Stadium project, "but in this case, it had good bones, it was well cared for, and it was a great opportunity for Georgia State."

The firm converted the grass baseball field to an artificial turf football field, and also needed to rework the seating to suit the change in sport. "Baseball has sight-lines that are much flatter than football, and they start at the field and work up," Holleman says. "Football starts up higher to be able to see football players on the sidelines, so we had to rework the base of the grandstands to get great sight-lines to people in the front rows."

Reporter Tim Tucker outlined the changes to the stadium in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in late July:

The conversion from Turner Field to Georgia State Stadium has been underway for about seven months, touching many parts of the facility.

The artificial-turf playing surface was largely installed last weekend, supplied by the same company, FieldTurf, that provided the field for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium a couple of miles away.

The entry plaza has been renamed the 1913 Promenade, a reference to the year the university was founded. The top level of the State House Grill — the former Chop House — will be a pregame hospitality space for Panthers Athletic Club members. The posh space that contained Turner Field’s SunTrust Club won’t be used this fall but eventually will become a recruiting area.

Three suites, located at what is now the 50-yard line, have been converted into a TV broadcast booth and coaches’ booths. Seats have been renumbered.

Holleman explains that this is the first phase of the stadium project, and the second phase will include adding team offices and training spaces.

"If I wasn't from Georgia, I would have no idea this was a former baseball stadium," Panthers cornerback Chandon Sullivan told the Associated Press. "They've done an amazing job with it."

The game kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. against the Tennessee State Tigers.