SALT LAKE CITY — Ground was broken Wednesday on the Spence Eccles Ski Team Building, where namesake and lead donor — former Utah skiing All-American Spence Eccles — was a featured guest. He and fundraising co-chairman Jim Gaddis — a three-time NCAA champion at Utah — joined Utah ski director Kevin Sweeney, President David Pershing and director of athletics Chris Hill in a ceremony dedicating the facility.
The 5,800-square-foot multi-level structure will serve the men’s and women’s alpine and Nordic teams, housing locker rooms, ski tuning rooms, a video and film room and a large conference room. There will also be space for equipment storage and covered parking for the team vehicles.
The building is located north of the McCarthey Family Track and Field, between the track and Dumke Family Softball Stadium.
“Men’s and women’s skiing has a rich history of success,” Hill said. “With 11 national championships, Utah skiing is one of the most accomplished programs in the country. This project has been long overdue. As with all of our sports, we need to provide our coaches and student-athletes with the resources to win on a national level.”
Added Sweeney, "This is a magical and rewarding moment for all of us. The Spence Eccles Ski Team Building represents not only several years of hard work and commitment to bring this project to fruition, it also represents outstanding support from our ski team alumni and close friends of the program, as well as the tremendous support from the athletic department and the university.
"I am incredibly thankful to all the parties involved who have made this project a reality. We are truly honored to name the building after Ute ski team alum Spence Eccles and his wonderful family. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable pieces of the project has been the opportunity to reconnect with alums and reminiscence about the wonderful experiences each had on the team and at the U., and how important that has been to them and their families.
"It is truly rewarding to know that the Spence Eccles Ski Team Building not only represents decades of skiing history, but it will serve to support current team athletes at the highest level possible and provide a wonderful home to aspiring future Utes. I am truly honored to be a part of this historical day for the Skiing Utes!"
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.