Facility Friday: Ken Garff Red Zone at U. of Utah, More

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An $80 million stadium renovation project at the University of Utah that’s been in the works since 2019 was recently completed: The brand new Ken Garff Red Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium will be ready for the start of the Utes football season on Sept. 2.

The stadium has added 4,500 seats, increasing capacity to 51,444. Rice-Eccles Stadium is fully enclosed with seating on all sides, which offers a new experience to longtime fans. The Zone includes suite, loge box, ledge, club, premium terrace and bench seating.

In addition to the new premium seating areas, the Ken Garff Red Zone includes new locker rooms, sports medicine facilities and hospitality areas. There is also space for athletic training, equipment, media and a recruiting lounge.

“They say when you build it, they will come," Athletics Director Mark Harlan said. "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 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. The Garff family donated $21.5 million, the largest donation for the project and the largest single gift in the history of Utah Athletics. — Daily Utah Chronicle, Ken Garff Red Zone


A new $775,000 skate park project in Greenfield, Mass., is proposed to replace a nearby skate park space. The city is applying for a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities  —  or PARC  — grant to support the design and construction of a skate park.

The new skate park is proposed for the upper section of the Chapman and Davis Street parking lot.

The two-year PARC grant, which could be awarded in late fall or early winter, would fund the design phase in fiscal year 2022, with construction beginning July 1, 2023.

The maximum award amount is $400,000, which project officials said they expect to receive.

The new skate park would be funded with the PARC grant, a city match (capital funding) of $350,000, plus donations and fundraising.

Plans for the park include a signature art piece, a potential graffiti wall and a focus on green architecture. The skate park itself will be approximately 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of "poured-in-place concrete." It will meet the needs of beginner skaters and those who are more advanced.

The park is expected to include amenities such as a water bubbler and water fill stations, possibly a sprinkler system, and at least initially, portable bathroom units. There could also be benches and other seating incorporated in the design.

Once the grant is awarded, the first step would be to hire a designer and hold a series of public meetings. — Greenfield Recorder

When Arizona College Prep in Chandler, Ariz., first opened its doors in 2007, athletics were an afterthought. This year the school has built new fields and facilities to house the Knights athletics.

Construction finished on the $87 million campus near Gilbert and Ocotillo roads in Chandler in July just before the start of the new school year.

Along with sprawling classrooms in the large building are new fields and other athletic facilities. The school has two softball fields – one for varsity and junior varsity – a sprawling weight room, a new, much larger gymnasium, locker rooms big enough to adequately serve all its sports programs and a junior varsity and varsity baseball field, which will don the Knights’ logo for the first time as the program is set for its inaugural season in the spring.

“We’ve never had a baseball or softball field,” Athletic Director Jamie McClure said. “We’ve never had our logo on a football field. We’ve never hosted a home track meet. Not only are we getting kids because of our academics, we are getting kids for our athletic facilities and it’s my goal to provide those same academic opportunities for our athletes.”

One of the most exciting new facilities on campus is the football field. It’s where the ACP program, fresh off its first-ever region championship, will kick off its season.

The weight room has more workout stations and equipment, and the walls will be plastered with purple and silver, the school’s primary colors.— East Valley Tribune

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