The $32-million, 150,000 square foot Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center was officially opened Thursday afternoon, putting Utah on par with other Pac-12 programs.
"I am so excited about this building," head coach Kyle Whittingham said. "I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this. It levels the playing field a great deal. The one facility that we were in dire need of was the football center, and we've got that in place now."
As one of the nicest and most state of the art facilities in the conference, Whittingham knows this complex will help recruiting tremendously.
"It's huge for recruiting," Whittingham said. "The reason you build a building like this is for two groups of people, the players currently in the program and the recruits that are looking at your program."
“This football center represents an important landmark in the growth and positive trajectory of Utah athletics,” said Spence Eccles. “Its impact will be significant and long lasting, ensuring that our student-athletes have the finest facilities, faculty, coaches and programs available in order to compete at the highest level of excellence both academically and athletically. Our family is proud to help ensure that the best is yet to come for Utah athletics.”
“Once again the Eccles family has gone the extra mile to help the University of Utah—and particularly Utah athletics—position itself among the great academic and athletic institutions in this country,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. “Spence and Cleone’s generosity helped to make this football center a reality and galvanized others to donate to this very critical piece of our football team’s future. We are thankful to the Eccles and all of the donors to this facility for their commitment to Utah athletics and our football program.”
The football center includes a Hall of Fame with a multitude of Utah artifacts and trophies. The complex also houses a 250-seat cafeteria, a 6,500-square-foot locker room with custom-crafted lockers, a spacious player lounge featuring large flat screen HD televisions, a theater, billiard games, a hydration station and group study areas, and over 47,000-square feet of offices, meeting rooms and team auditoriums.
Running along the west and south sides of the two-storied structure are observation decks overlooking the practice fields and boasting incredible vistas of Rice-Eccles Stadium, downtown Salt Lake City, the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountain ranges and the Great Salt Lake. The decks will play host to team get-togethers and alumni events.
"We knew it was going to be a great building, but it has exceeded everybody's expectations," said Whittingham.
Click on the video as Dana Greene gives you a tour of the complex.