SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve an $80 million nonstate revenue bond to upgrade and expand Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The trustees’ approval comes as the U.S. Olympic Committee prepares to conduct site visits and gauge public support for hosting a future Winter Games, likely 2030. On Monday, Reno-Tahoe, one of Salt Lake City’s competitors to host another Winter Games, dropped out of the running.
The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Games.
The stadium’s current capacity is approximately 45,800, although it held 47,825 people for a football game against the University of Michigan in 2015, according to Wikipedia. It is one of the smaller stadiums among PAC-12 universities.
The expansion would bring the capacity to 51,000 seats and include premium seating, which is presently sold out at the stadium, said U. Athletic Director Mark Harlan.
Later this week, the Utah State Board of Regents will consider the U.’s amended campus master plan, which includes an upgrade of the stadium. The board will consider the stadium expansion bond at that time.
Harlan said there are two overriding concerns with the project: that it not hurt the university financially and that the U. football program continue its sellout streak. Projections suggest the project is on solid ground financially, he said.
"It's a sense of pride and something other universities would crave for," he added.
The project will include improvements in dressing facilities that are sorely needed, he said.
"We’ll be able to run our games in a PAC-12 manner," Harlan said.
This story will be updated throughout the day.