Utah Athletics Cuts Ribbon on Ken Garff Red Zone

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Cole Bagley

(Photo by Cole Bagley | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor

 

The University of Utah showed off the brand new Ken Garff Red Zone on Thursday. The stadium renovation, which has been in the works since December of 2019, cost about $80 million and will be ready for the start of the football season in just a few weeks. 

“Today is a historic day, not only for the Athletics Department and our student-athletes, but certainly for this University,” Athletics Director Mark Harlan said. “This is an amazing project. It seems like a short two-and-a-half years ago when we went through the approval process, and now we are here. They say when you build it, they will come. But they have already been coming to Rice-Eccles Stadium. We have been sold out for every game since 2010. This allows 4,500 more people to join the party.”

The stadium capacity has now increased to exactly 51,444. The stadium is fully enclosed with seating on all sides, which offers a new experience to longtime fans. 

“The Ken Garff Red Zone will not only benefit our football program, but it will benefit more than 500 student-athletes who are annually a part of the greater University athletics family,” said Kathi Garff, speaking on behalf of the Garff family. “My husband Bob had a dream that the Ken Garff Red Zone could attract and unite the finest faculty, build and retain the most gifted athletes, and attract and develop the greatest students. He also had a dream that the Ken Garff Red Zone could be a gathering place to encourage the faculty, the business community, families and students to be able to enjoy these facilities year-round.”

The Garff family donated $21.5 million, which was the largest donation for the project and marks the largest single gift in the history of Utah Athletics.

“I want to thank Mark Harlan and his team, and the team at Layton Construction,” incoming University of Utah President Taylor 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.”

In the locker room, the first thing players see is a locker put up to honor the late Ty Jordan, which will remain there all season. 

 

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