The University of Utah is committed to its women’s gymnastics program.

To its continued success on the national stage — the Red Rocks have finished No. 3 in the country in back-to-back-to-back seasons — and to its continuing to live up to the legacy of winning — 10 national championships — that has existed for near on 50 years now.

That was on display Thursday morning as Utah unveiled the newly renovated Dumke Gymnastics Center.

A multimillion-dollar renovation — estimated at $4.6 million when the groundbreaking took place on March 1, 2022 — funded by the donations of fans and boosters, the new and improved Dumke Center is expected to help keep Utah gymnastics among the premier programs in the NCAA.

“Eight years ago we had a vision to elevate what was already a world class facility into the stratosphere,” Utah head coach Tom Farden said. “To see that come to fruition ... it was a total team effort and it is very gratifying to know that Utah gymnastics — facilitywise — isn’t a box that a recruit will walk in and say, ‘You know what, I can’t check that box.’ Facilitywise, they have to check it now. There is no other alternative. It is one of the finest facilities in the world.”

And the latest addition to the elite legacy of Utah gymnastics.

“This is legacy,” University of Utah president Taylor Randall said. “Forty-seven straight years (at the national championships). Multiple upon multiple Olympians and All-Americans. Legacy means there is an expectation of you and this legacy hits the right notes every time.

“It is a legacy of excellence, a legacy of caring. You are part of the Utah family. When you show up in Fort Worth, there will be hundreds if if not thousands of fans handing out T-shirts and ready to walk down the stairs, knowing they are with you win, lose or draw. This athletic program has lifted this university to new heights.”

The new Dumke Center now stands at an estimated 28,500 square feet, and includes a 8,846-square-foot renovation that has added a two-level public entry with access to a multipurpose space and observation mezzanine, a Legacy Hall where gymnasts can see the names and accolades of former Red Rocks, plus a new training room, team lounge, team and coaching staff lockers, shower and restrooms, zen or tranquility rock garden, second level staff patio deck, enhanced therapy and recovery spaces, new offices for coaching staff, additional storage space and the addition of an elevator.

The overall design was done by Jill Jones, president of ajc architects, who also designed the original Dumke Center, which opened in 1999.

“Jill came back and did the rest of it,” Farden said. “Her and I had a moment before this event and she choked up.”

Some of the gymnasts on the team, namely fifth-year seniors Maile O’Keefe, Jaedyn Rucker and Abby Paulson, also had a hand in design, back during the beginning or their collegiate careers. Designs that have now come to fruition years later.

“We got to choose some of the flooring, the tile and the lockers,” O’Keefe said. “We did all this freshman and sophomore year. Things took awhile, so there have been times I’d see something and say, ‘That’s really cute,’ and (Farden) would say, ‘Yeah, you helped pick that out.’”

The gymnasts are excited about their new digs, with Grace McCallum joking that she and her teammates could just about live in the gymnastics facility now.

“It is a very nice facility and coming in and seeing a very nice facility is just that more appealing to the eye,” she said. “We have an amazing gymnasium, but also everything you need for recovery, saunas, massage chairs, a tranquility garden and a nice lounge area.”

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At the forefront of everything Utah gymnastics, though, is the legacy of the program. The Red Rocks win and win a lot. That remains the emphasis going forward, both in Utah’s final year in the Pac-12 and upon the move to the Big 12 in 2024.

“First of all, we are really grateful to have been a part of the Pac-12 for so many years. I have so many fond memories of the Pac-12 and all the battles that we have had,” Farden said. “Moving forward to the Big 12, this facility — its upgrade — is going to keep us challenging and pushing to work like heck and be at the top of that conference too.”

With a knowing wink, Farden added: “We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are going to give it our best shot once we get there, but we have a lot of business to take care of this year. We have one more thing we want to do in the Pac-12.”

In other words, the Red Rocks hope to hang another championship banner in the Dumke Center. It has room for more now, after all.

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