December 11, 2008
One of the most used buildings on the campus of Brigham Young University is the Marriott Center. This multi-purpose building is the site of devotional and forum addresses, basketball and other indoor athletic contests, cultural performances, and convocations. President Ernest L. Wilkinson announced plans for building the Marriott Center in September 1968 and emphasized that the building would be financed by gate receipts, student building fees, and public contributions rather than the tithing funds of the Church. Construction lasted until 1972 but the building was opened for use in December 1971 to host the Cougar Classic basketball tournament. At the time of its construction it was the largest university activities center in the United States.
The building is named after J. Willard Marriott who made a generous donation to help finance its construction. The original name of the building was the J. Willard Marriott Activities Center and it was affectionately known among students as the “Big Mac.” The name was later shortened to the Marriott Center.
The building measures 384 feet by 344 feet and seats 23,000 people. The roof of the building is unique in that it is one large steel truss. It was constructed at ground level and then raised thirty five feet into place on top of thirty-eight steel columns. It is the largest roof structure ever erected and lifted by this method. After the steel space frame was in place, the dirt was excavated down to the playing floor level.
For more information about the Marriott Center or if you are interested in researching buildings on campus, please contact the University Archivist at email@example.com or (801) 422-5821.