USU athletic director discusses the future of the Spectrum

LOGAN – The USU basketball team played its first game in the Spectrum on Dec. 1, 1970. In the almost 48 years since, the 10,270-seat arena has hosted men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics meets, volleyball matches, concerts, commencement exercises, religious meetings and more.

But there are challenges that come with the age of the venue that need to be solved, USU Athletic Director John Hartwell said, and it will likely happen through major renovations or by building a new arena.

“That facility is not getting any younger,” Hartwell said. “It is not getting any more modern.”

The issues include limited concourse space for restroom and concessions areas, uncomfortable seating, tight legroom and seat accessibility. He said that USU’s fan base, like many others, is aging. The lack of mid-level portals makes it difficult for those with limited mobility.

“We are kind of with a blank canvas looking at a whole lot of opportunities,” he said. “We’ve gotten some preliminary estimates, and quite frankly, there is not a huge cost difference between a renovation of the Spectrum and a whole new facility.”

Other issues are likely to arise when the process begins, such as where to hold athletic events while construction is taking place.

“For gymnastics we would probably have to go to Salt Lake and incur the costs, not only the inconvenience of going there, but the cost of playing in another facility for at least one and maybe two seasons,” he said. “That brings a whole other dynamic to it.”

Changes likely won’t happen soon. The topic is being discussed, Hartwell said, but nothing is in the works, yet.

“It is not a two- or three-year fix,” he said. “It is something that is a little bit further than that.”

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