SALT LAKE CITY – About three weeks after facing social media backlash about the amount of available water fountains at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the University of Utah spent $35,000 to install new, improved water fountains at the facility.
The social media response was partly due to photos that showed vendors’ drink carts or other items blocking access to water fountains and from complaints from fans who felt they missed much of the game while waiting to get water in the heat, click here for FOX 13 News’ previous coverage of the issue.
Mark Burk, Director of Stadium and Arena Event Services, spoke about their improvements, which include large banners directing people to the new filling stations. The water fountains were installed Thursday in anticipation of Saturday's game.
“We've expanded our capacity from eight drinking fountains, single drinking fountains, to 24 locations, and 12 of those have water filling stations for bottles,” he said.
Burk said they have also improved drains and valves on the fountains so they will hold up for longer under the heavy usage they see.
Officials said after the initial complaints that two of those original eight fountains were out of order, and fans said the carts and other things that blocked some of the other fountains compounded the problem.
“We talked to some of those vendors and it was a mistake, and we will clearly define the areas in front of the new drinking fountains, so that our vendors and our fans will understand where that area is,” Burk said in response to that issue.
FOX 13 News’ Todd Tanner has more on the improvements at the stadium, as well as an interview with a fan who was among those the U of U reached out to for feedback on how they could improve the stadium experience for those who attend--see the video above for his report.