Hoberman Arch leaving U. stadium in search of a new home

By McKenzie Romero and Keith McCord, Deseret News

Published: Fri, Aug. 1, 2014, 7:25 p.m. MDT

 Workers disassemble the Hoberman Arch Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.

Workers disassemble the Hoberman Arch Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The iconic Olympic arch that has stood at Rice-Eccles Stadium for more than 10 years was dismantled Friday and is looking for a new home.

The Hoberman Arch served as a mechanical curtain for medal ceremonies at Olympic Plaza during the 2002 Winter Games. During its heyday, the arch was 36 feet tall, 72 feet wide, weighed 31,000 pounds, and each of the 96 panels twisted and moved as it opened and closed.

It was later moved to Rice-Eccles Stadium, where it remained fixed.

"This was never meant to be a permanent home for the arch, and Salt Lake City has expressed an interest in finding its next home," University of Utah spokeswoman Maria O'Mara said.

Crews began disassembling the arch's 4,000 pieces Friday and preparing them for storage. The arch will be gone in a few weeks and the space used on Utah game days.

The Olympic Cauldron, however, will not move.

"Our intention is for the beautiful Olympic Cauldron to stay here as a reminder for all of us on campus and sports fans as they come and go from the stadium of the thrill of the Olympic Games," O'Mara said.

The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, the nonprofit organization that manages and overseas Olympic facilities and memorials, says it will assist the city and the U. in keeping the arch and all Olympic facilities intact and available for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Salt Lake City has no timeframe for relocating the arch as it considers several locations and evaluates a number of concerns, said Rick Graham, the city's director of public services.

"It's really an engineering marvel, the piece itself," Graham said. "That's what makes it unique and why we want to put it back into the same type of form and fashion that it's in now."

City officials must consider where residents will be able to best access the arch and where it will provide a good view, Graham said, in addition to safety and installation concerns.

Until then, the arch will be put into storage.

Monty Fenwick, who lives about a block away from the stadium, will miss seeing visitors stopping to admire the arch.

"There were a lot of people here, tourists, being photographed in front of it," Fenwick said.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, kmccord@ksl.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero, KeithMcCord

1. OnlyInUtah
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Aug. 2, 2014

I'll be curious to see what the University needs the space for on game days this fall. Sounds like an excuse for the University to get rid of the arch... when they remove it rather than relocate it on campus.

For the record I always thought the arch was an eyesore. I didn't like it during the Olympics and never have felt it was a worth holding onto. I wouldn't have wanted it in my front yard and I guess the U feels the same way.

Nice PR job from the U to try keeping this a positive thing.

2. KirkW
Roosevelt, UT,
Aug. 2, 2014

City is looking into revitalizing State Fairpark. Maybe that area could become a new home for the arch.

3. Sheldon L
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 2, 2014

I hope they will install it in a way that will allow it to move, instead of being fixed in place like it was at the U. I always thought that was a mistake. The thing that makes it so amazing is the way it moves. At some place like Gateway or City Creek you could install it so visitors could push a button (or deposit money?) to make it open and close. Now that would be cool.

4. sirald66
Aug. 3, 2014

East side of Library Square would be a good place for the arch, if not the cauldron.