The Jon M. & Karen Huntsman Basketball Facility is part of a 90,000 square-foot addition to the Jon M. Huntsman Center arena and HPER Complex that also includes the Sorensen Legacy Foundation High Performance Center. Since opening in 2015, it allows Utah’s student-athletes to workout, train, rehab and practice in one of the best training facilities in the nation.
The Jon M. & Karen Huntsman Basketball Facility includes a 6,000-square foot Hall of Fame Entrance, highlighting the past and present success of Utah men’s and women’s basketball. It houses two 12,000 square foot practice gymnasiums, locker rooms with adjacent custom spa pools for both teams, separate players’ lounges and film rooms, and many other elements that have been designed to give the student-athletes a “home away from home” experience.
A pre-game dining space allows both teams the ability to meet as a separate groups or interact together. One of the main architectural elements is the all-glass coaches’ office block, which is elevated off the ground and allows the men’s and women’s coaches offices to overlook Salt Lake City and the University of Utah Campus. With 270 degree views from the coaches’ offices, this area has become a highlighted recruiting stop for all coaches. The rooftop terrace, which is designed on top of the facility, gives visitors, recruits, student-athletes and administrators the ability to enjoy 360 degree views—highlighting everything the University of Utah has to offer.
The Huntsman Center ranks third among the nation’s arenas for the most NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games hosted, with 81 contests taking place in the facility. The JMHC played host to the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship “Dream Match-Up” featuring Indiana State’s Larry Bird and Michigan State’s Magic Johnson. The men’s NCAA regional tournament came to the Huntsman Center twice (1971 and ‘81). First and second round games took place 13 times (most recently in 2006). The JMHC has hosted NCAA women’s basketball first and second round games twice (2001 and ‘11).
Also a famous women’s gymnastics venue, the Huntsman Center has hosted a record nine national gymnastics championships—one AIAW and eight NCAA Championships (most recently in 2007). Utah has also hosted 14 regional meets (most recently in 2018) and two Pac-12 Championships (most recently in 2015).
Women’s basketball has hosted NCAA tournament first and second round games in 2001 and 2011. The NCAA women’s volleyball tournament visited the Huntsman Center for the first time in 2017 with the Utes winning the Salt Lake Sub-Regional.
Architecturally, the Huntsman Center was once well-known for its steel cloud, which hung from the arena’s silver dome interior and held the center court scoreboard, sound and lighting systems. The roof support beams are made out of wood, which made the weight of the steel cloud vital to holding them in place. The building was designed with pristine acoustics in mind.
The Huntsman Center underwent a $6 million renovation in the summer of 2014. The original ceiling cloud was replaced with a super grid structure. Energy efficient LED arena lighting, which accommodates instant on and off, was installed. A new state-of-the-art sound system and ceiling mounted sound panels provided greater clarity. The project also included a draping system, offering a more intimate setting in the arena’s lower bowl for smaller events with seating for 8,400. In 2017-18, a newly-designed center-hung video display system, four new corner boards hung from the ceiling structure and four boards on the walls of the lower bowl, totaling $4.1 million.
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