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‘It’s time to upgrade’: Utah’s Kyle Whittingham excited about approval of a new indoor facility

Whittingham said the program’s success played a big role in getting this new building.

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Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) celebrates his touchdown during to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. Utah leads 35-21 at half.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

A new $61.8 million indoor football practice facility at the University of Utah has been approved — and coach Kyle Whittingham is thrilled.

“It will be huge. It’s still a couple of years away. We’re going to have a facility eventually that we can kick in and practice the entire football team in,” Whittingham said this week during spring practice.

“The facility we’ve got has been really good to us but we’ve outgrown it. It’s time to upgrade. The sooner that gets in place the better, but it’s probably going to be a couple of years.”

The new facility will be climate-controlled and is expected to be 101,000-square feet and feature a 120-yard football field with end zones, a 90-foot ceiling (high enough to allow for punting) and video boards. 

The building would include space for storage, a lobby, a sports medicine annex and restrooms. 

Whittingham said the program’s success — including last year’s Pac-12 championship — played a big role in getting this new facility approved. 

“Without a doubt. Winning helps everything,” he said. “You win games and you compete for championships, then good things happen. That’s just how it works.”

Last August, the school held a ribbon-cutting for another major project— the $80 million expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium, increasing the seating capacity from 45,807 to 51,444. 

The expansion included the state-of-the-art Ken Garff Red Zone located in the south end zone. 

The Ken Garff Red Zone features new home and visiting locker rooms, sports medicine facilities and hospitality areas, the University Club restaurant, Diglisic Lounge, Layton Field Club and various premium seating options, including suites, loge boxes, ledge, club and premium terrace seating as well as additional bleacher seating.