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Utah Athletics Continues Construction At Rice-Eccles Stadium With Demolition Work

Crews begin demolishing the Spence Clark Football Center in the south end zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. The structure will be razed over a five-week period to make way for the Ken Garff Performance Zone, which is set to open for the 2021 football season. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah announced that they are continuing the construction and renovations being done to Rice-Eccles Stadium as they are now beginning the demolition phase.

On Monday, Utah athletics tweeted out a video of the south end zone bleachers being demolished. It will be replaced with the Ken Garff Performance Zone.

Construction on the stadium began eight months ago. The new project in the south end zone will add nearly 5,000 seats to the stadium’s capacity. The locker rooms and the Spence Clark Football Center was being demolished on Monday.

According to construction manager for Layton Construction, Jared Adamson, the project in the south end zone will take approximately five weeks. It was originally scheduled to be demolished at the end of the 2020 football season but since the Pac-12 postponed fall sports, the plans were moved up by more than three months.

“We have a high-reach excavator that has a ‘muncher’ on it,” Adamson explained. “Rather than imploding the building, this is much safer and it allows us to have smaller pieces of concrete to haul away. We have two excavators with the munchers on them, and they’ll work from the west to the east.”

The Spence Clark Football Center opened in 1982 as a part of a major remodeling project of the former Rice Stadium. The field was lowered by nine feet at that time and more seats were added on the sidelines and south end zone. Local businessman Spence Clark gifted $1 million to provide new locker rooms, a stadium club room and a band room.

It will be replaced with the Ken Garff Performance Zone which will open in 2021. It will house both home and visitor locker rooms plus the officials’ locker rooms. Also, sports medicine facilities and other dedicated game-day personnel will utilize the space at field level and a large field club.

The Ken Garff Performance Zone will also have updated amenities, both premium and non-premium seating will be added in the new project. The capacity of Rice-Eccles Stadium will be increased from 45,807 to 51.444. It will include a suite, loge box, ledge and club seating as well as an increased number of bench  seats.

When Rice-Eccles Stadium underwent a major expansion in 1998 in preparation for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the Spence Clark Football Center was the only portion of the stadium that remained intact.

Spence Clark’s son, Steve, was an All-American defensive lineman at Utah from 1978-81. Spence and his wife Jill passed away last month from injuries suffered in an auto accident. In recognition of Spence Clark’s gift, his name will be appropriately recognized inside the Ken Garff Performance Zone, according to Utah athletics.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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