Garff Family Donates $17.5 Million to Rice-Eccles Stadium Expansion
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah Athletics Department announced its biggest gift ever today – a $17.5 million dollar donation from the Ken Garff family. That will help the university expand Rice-Eccles Stadium by more than 5,000 seats.
Currently, the stadium holds 45,807 people. The renovation will bring it up to 51,444 seats. The football team has played in front of 56 straight sellout crowds dating back to the 2010 season opener. An extra 5,637 seats will certainly make fans happy.
Crews will demolish and rebuild the south end zone, adding luxury suites and other new seating. They will also add new locker rooms. The project is expected to cost around $80 million. Today, the Ken Garff family announced a $17.5 million contribution. Ken Garff’s son, Bob Garff, said the university is hugely important to their family.
“The goal here is to develop this new facility into a showstopper, and I mean a showstopper, venue for recruiting and gameday performance,” Bob Garff said.
University of Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan said the university’s relationship with the Garff family has been beneficial for the whole community.
“Their impact of giving of their time and treasure has not only enhanced the University of Utah, but this community in so many ways. This is why Utah Athletics is so proud and humbled and honored to a be a partner with such an iconic family,” Harlan said.
As Salt Lake City hopes for a future Winter Olympic Games, Harlan thinks an expansion to the stadium that saw the torch lit in 2002 could help nudge things along.
“I imagine, as well, that the International Olympic Committee will take note of what is going on here today, to this addition of this iconic stadium,” Harlan said.
Construction will begin after the final home game of the 2020 football season and should finish before the start of the 2021 season.