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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utah coach Whittingham initiates demolition of athletic center

Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham has spent much of his career building the Utes' football program. On Tuesday the coach took some pleasure in tearing down part of that program.

Whittingham kicked off the demolition of the Dee Glen Smith Center by driving some equipment into the east side of the building.

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The current football center, which opened more than 20 years ago, will be replaced by a $30 million football facility which will open in 2013.

The complex will feature a 12,000-square foot sports medicine department, a cafeteria, a 6,500-square-foot locker room for the football players and lounge.

There will be more than 24,000-square feet of offices, meeting rooms and an auditorium.

Whittingham has been pushing for a new building for several years, believing the Utes needed to modernize their facilities in order to compete with other Top 25 programs.

"This facility will provide a great environment for our current players and will be a huge asset for us in recruiting," he said. "A lot of people have worked very hard to ensure that our new football center will rate among the best in the country."

The Utes will also have new practice fields once the project is complete. They are utilizing Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Spence Eccles Field House for practices until the project is completed.

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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