SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – After two years and one pandemic, the Rice-Eccles Stadium expansion project is finally complete.
The the ribbon was officially cut on the $80 million Ken Garff Red Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium Thursday morning. The stadium’s south end zone is now enclosed, and capacity has been increased by 4,500 seats to 51,444.
The Garff family’s $21.5 million donation served as the lead gift for the project and stands as the largest single donation in Utah Athletics history.
The expansion includes major enhancements to the game-day environment for fans as well as new locker rooms, sports medicine facilities and other football operations spaces that will also boost recruiting efforts.
“When we did this, we had to figure it out financially,” Harlan said. “We had to have amazing people come forward. But we had to continue the sellout streak of eleven straight years. But we surveyed this community and we knew that they would step up.”
Maybe the most noticeable difference for the fans will be the increased volume of the crowd now that the south end zone is close.
“It gives you chills when you’re on the field and you hear everybody screaming,” said linebacker Devin Lloyd. “Now that the stadium is going to be enclosed, all the sound is going to be compacted, and I think it’s going to be a hell of an experience.”
“I want to thank Mark Harlan and his team, and the team at Layton Construction,” University of Utah President Randall said. “They put up this place in a pandemic. Think about the supply-chain issues, the cost issues we’ve had, and the need to preserve people’s health. Thank you to all of them. What you are staring at with this new facility is $41 million in donations. You’re staring at an additional $10 million in ticket sales. This will help our football program to thrive and it will become even more elite than it is now.”
The addition of both premium and non-premium seating includes suite, loge box, ledge, club and premium terrace seating, and an increased number of bench seats.
The Layton Field Club and Diglisic Lounge complement the premium spaces in the Ken Garff Red Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium.