The board also approved swapping land with the city of Athens on College Station Road and selected the architect who will design an office building for the Terry College of Business.
The land purchase is to replace property the school sold earlier in the year on College Station Road that had been used for agricultural research. As the last of the research wraps up on the current plantings, it will transfer to the new land which features a variety of soil types and easy access to the school's main campus 20 miles away.
The board got three appraisals before agreeing to pay $2.6 million to L.G. Curtis & Sons. It will require another $3.2 million to build an office, grain bins, irrigation and other facilities.
The money from the sale of the original Plant Sciences Farm will cover the costs and still leave the majority of the $12 million sale proceeds for other projects.
The land swap is part of a deal struck in 2006 in which the city used 12 acres to build a bridge over the North Oconee River. In exchange, the school gets land the city once used for a sewage-treatment facility that it has now replaced.
The deal expands a parcel the university already owns in the area where it eventually plans to erect student housing.
For the business school, the board selected Rule Joy Trammel +Rubio of Atlanta to draft the blueprints for the $35 million building that will be the first of a cluster of buildings that will eventually house the entire Terry College. The board chose the firm ranked highest by the University System staff.
Funds for the construction and furnishings is coming from donations.