BYU Students Make Plans for Former Olympic Venues

By By U Wire

By U Wire

PROVO?Now that the Olympic frenzy has ended, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee is working to fill the empty multimillion dollar venues.

Utah Olympic Park, Utah Olympic Oval and Soldier Hollow have employed Brigham Young University graduate students to prepare operating plans.

Craig Lehto, venue manager for Utah Olympic Park, said, “Our No. 1 goal is to maintain an athletic training and competition facility.”

The Olympic Park was given a $40 million endowment to cover construction and operation and maintenance costs. With a good operating plan and a few productive years, the Olympic Park will pay its own bills without delving into the endowment fund, Lehto said.

One way Lehto said he hopes to produce revenue is through hosting other events.

“As a high-performance training center, we would like to host the World Championship competitions,” he said.

Tourism and development camps are two other options for Olympic Park.

The biggest problem facing most Winter Olympic venues is determining how to keep them profitable during the summer months. Mark Hancock, member of the Oval field study team, suggested having all of the athletic amenities under one roof.

“The Oval has a lot of office space that the media is using during the Olympics. Once the Games are over, a sports medicine and rehabilitation clinic could move in and set up shop in the empty space,” Hancock said.

Nick Thometz, venue director for the Utah Olympic Oval, said during the summer months it is a challenge to turn a profit, but his goal is to break even. Ten months out the year the wide-track skating facility will remain open, Thometz said.

“We are one of the very few speed skating facilities that will be open in the summer. We will attract a lot of foreign teams because basically all the European facilities will be closed,” he said.

Last year the Olympic Oval hosted a girl’s hockey league in partnership with Nike. Thometz said this developmental program and other learn-to skate programs will draw the public to the facility and generate revenue.

Other venues will return to pre-Olympic form within days.

The Paralympics will be using three venues, Snowbasin Ski Area, Soldier Hollow and the E Center, for its competitions. The Medals Plaza will stay up for the Paralympic Closing Ceremony.

Much of the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, has to be back to the way it was by Monday, when the ice will be open to the public.

The Delta Center, where the figure skating and short track events took place, has to be prepared for upcoming Utah Jazz games.