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University of Utah Breaks Ground on New $50.4 Million George S. Eccles Student Life Center

Artist rendering of the new Student Life Center, view from the HPER complex looking east.

April 19, 2013 – Today, the University of Utah announced that after more than 10 years of planning and fundraising efforts, the University has broken ground on a new $50.4 million student life and recreation facility named the George S. Eccles Student Life Center.

The nearly 190,000 square foot center would not have been possible without financial support from a number of sources, including the generous lead naming gift from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation along with major gifts from Kem and Carolyn Gardner and the University Federal Credit Union. Support for the Center also comes from a student-approved bond, University of Utah administration and non-student user fees. The state-of-the-art recreation facility will be the campus hub for fitness training, intramural sports and outdoor recreation. The Center will serve as the premier location for students, faculty and staff to gather and develop lifelong healthy habits.

“Every day thousands of students will visit the George S. Eccles Student Life Center to swim, run, climb or simply read or relax with friends,” said David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah. “This amazing facility will become the vibrant center of a campus dedicated to the notion that education is about developing the whole person.”

Located just west of the George S. Eccles 2002 Legacy Bridge and adjacent to the Fort Douglas TRAX stop, the Center will connect student life with academic life and create a more engaged campus community. The Center will serve as more than just a recreation space, it will include a café and numerous study nooks, as well as three pools, five sport courts, 15,000 square feet of cardiovascular and weight lifting space, four fitness studios, a wellness studio and climbing walls.

“By approving the bond for this project, the students have voiced their support for the new Center and it will be a great addition to campus life,” said Neela Pack, former president, Associated Students of the University of Utah. “Now students will have somewhere to go between classes where they can get in a workout, study, or grab a quick bite to eat – all in one place.”

Research has shown that students who participate in campus recreation feel happier, have a stronger sense of well-being and feel more a part of campus life. Moreover, student participation in recreational programs is directly correlated with positive health habits and behaviors such as participating in community service.

“With recreational services open year-round, seven days a week, the George S. Eccles Student Life Center will promote a more interactive campus with activities that provide a healthy break from studying. It will build a stronger campus community through engagement and encourage positive life-long habits,” said Barbara H. Snyder, vice president for Student Affairs.

The George S. Eccles Student Life Center was designed by MHTN Architects and Hastings+Chivetta, and is projected to open in December 2014.


The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 33,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 90 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 100 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the university prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Learn more about all the U has to offer online at