Go Utes!
Go Utes!
New Indoor Facility Is Named After Major Donor.

Utah football coach Urban Meyer and his players thank Spence Eccles at a press conference.

Utah football coach Urban Meyer and his players thank Spence Eccles at a press conference.

Aug. 17, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY -
The new University of Utah indoor athletics training facility currently under construction on Guardsman Way will be named the Spence Eccles Field House, the U. announced today. The naming recognizes one of the U.'s most generous benefactors and avid Ute boosters - one whose recent $2 million donation led the funding effort for the new facility and made it possible to move forward on a "fast track" schedule. "We are extremely grateful to Spence and Cleone Eccles and their family for their continued support of Utah athletics," said U. Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. "Since his own days as an All-America student-athlete on the U.'s ski team, Spence's dedication to helping the Utes succeed in athletics has never wavered. It's fitting that this practice facility, where our student-athletes will have exciting new opportunities to develop their abilities, will bear the name of a former athlete himself, who enthusiastically devotes so much of his time, energy, and support to the success of the Utes." According to Hill, the new facility will not only play a vital part in the future success of Utah's football team, but also will be utilized by its soccer, softball, baseball, golf, and track and field teams. "We also envision community use of the facility during the times when our varsity teams aren't using it," added Hill. Said Eccles, "I'm thrilled to assist my alma mater and be a part of the leadership on this project - a state-of-the-art indoor training facility that is essential to keep up the winning momentum of the Urban Meyer football program. For this year's Utes, and throughout the future for student-athletes in many of Utah's varsity sports, this facility will make a big impact on their ability to reach their own potential and help the U. become more nationally competitive than ever before. I express my heartfelt thanks for this truly 110-percent effort by everyone who has participated in making this new field house a reality." Eccles' involvement in the project began in March 2004 when he approached Hill with a $2 million gift for the new facility - with a slight catch: raise the additional funding needed for the $6 million project by the deadline of Memorial Day, and ensure the facility can be substantially completed for use in early November. With the necessary commitments from additional donors in place, to be announced and celebrated when the facility opens later this fall, Okland Construction broke ground June 14 on what will be the Spence Eccles Field House. Its walls are rising rapidly on the site located adjacent to the Dee Glen Smith Athletics Center and the Thomas Kearns McCarthey Practice Fields. The design-build project was designed by VCBO Architecture and is being constructed of red masonry, topped by a translucent panel to the south and glass to the north. When complete, the 75,000 square foot structure will house a regulation size football field with FieldTurf--the same surface used in Rice-Eccles Stadium--and the interior height of 60 feet will allow for field-goal kicking and punting drills. It will also contain restrooms, storage and netting, batting cages and pitching mounds for the baseball and softball teams, equipment for the golf and soccer teams and a first aid/taping station. The entry way will open into a mini theater featuring a "Legends" photographic display of former Ute greats and containing interactive exhibits. U. President Michael K. Young, who took office just three weeks ago, expressed his appreciation to all involved with the new facility. "It hasn't taken me long to find out that big things can - and do - happen for the U. when you combine the contagious enthusiasm and generosity of Spence Eccles, the dogged determination of Chris Hill, and the energy and drive of Coach Urban Meyer. I believe there's a strong and important link between our success in athletics and our achievements campus-wide. This announcement today is definitely a timely `win' for the entire University of Utah," said Young. Added Utah head football coach Urban Meyer, "Spence Eccles, his family and the other loyal, generous donors share our vision for national-caliber athletic programs at the University of Utah. The athletic facilities at the U. are outstanding, and thanks to an outpouring of support from the community for this indoor practice facility, we now have everything we need to succeed on the football field and in the classroom." Eccles, a 1956 graduate of the University of Utah, is chairman of the Intermountain Banking Region of Wells Fargo & Co. A long-time U benefactor, Eccles' widespread personal involvement and generosity have benefitted not only the Athletics Department, but also areas in the health sciences, arts, humanities, and business school, among others. A 1991 inductee into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame, Eccles chaired the University of Utah's Sesquicentennial Campaign: Generations of Excellence in the late 1990s, a campus-wide fund-raising drive that generated $769 million for the university.

 

 

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