The University of Utah has appointed Populous to design its $80m (£63m/€70m) south end zone expansion at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The construction will grow the venue’s capacity from 45,017 to 51,444, as it connects the east and west sides for a closed-bowl, 360-degree concourse.

The new south end zone will also feature upgraded team locker and training rooms and a variety of new premium seating experiences including terraces, loges, suites, as well as a premier club and rooftop seating.

Mark Harlan, University of Utah athletic director, said: “We are committed to providing a world-class experience for our student-athletes and fans. This expansion will set a new standard for Pac-12 football facilities and ultimately establish our presence on the national stage for years to come.”

Construction is scheduled to begin after the 2019 football season and will be completed by August 2021.

The Utah Utes football team competes in the Pac-12 Conference of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of NCAA Division I, and has won 24 conference championships in five different conferences during its history

Jeremy Krug, Populous’ lead designer on the project, said: “We’re honoured to partner with the University of Utah and Salt Lake City-based architectural firm VCBO to deliver the latest amenities and enhance the Utes football fan experience through the expansion of the south end zone.

“Rice-Eccles Stadium is one of the best atmospheres in college football and once the expansion is complete, the stadium will have something for every fan to enjoy.”

The south end zone bleachers, which were built in 1982, are all that remains of the old timber, concrete and earth-filled stadium that was almost completely demolished in 1997 and replaced with modern steel, concrete and glass.

Image: Populous