SALT LAKE CITY -- Funding for the University of Utah’s expansion plans were announced Saturday. The Ken Garff family donated $17.5 million to the project, pitching in to help give the Rice-Eccles Stadium a tune-up.
“The locker rooms, the lounges, we plan on making it a show-stopper venue,” said Bob Garff who brought his family members with him for the big announcement.
Garff was the chairman of the Olympic committee back in 2002 — it was at the Rice-Eccles stadium the opening ceremonies kicked off, and where Garff hopes the 2030 Olympics will be held.
“It will be the venue for the Olympic Games as well as a great football arena, bringing 5,000 more seats to this venue,” said Garff.
On average, the stadium hosts 450,000 people for sports events annually. The project calls for adding 5,000 new seats and enclosing the stadium bowl.
The south end zone was built back in 1982, the expansion plans include connecting that with the West and East zones, which were built in 1998.
“We want to make it a first-class venue,” said Garff. “to develop a facility that matches our mountains.”
The total estimated cost for the expansion is $80 million dollars and will involve demolishing and rebuilding the old south end zone.