OGDEN -- After more than 60 years, Weber State University once again has a physical presence in downtown Ogden.
On Thursday, the university and Ogden City celebrated the opening of Weber State Downtown, a new 18,000-square-foot extension of WSU that officials say represents a one-of-a-kind partnership between the city and the school.
The new facility, located at 2314 Washington Blvd., includes a WSU campus store that feature WSU merchandise, "Weber Wear" clothing, name-brand technology products and an Apple Authorized Service Center.
Students will be able to pay tuition and buy parking passes at the store and the public will be able to purchase tickets to WSU events there. Continuing education courses will also be offered.
The building also functions as the headquarters for StartUp Ogden -- a think tank for web and mobile app development -- and will house WSU's Small Business Development Center and Ogden City's Business Information Center. Training, consulting and referral services will be provided to area business owners and entrepreneurs.
The building is also equipped with a state-of-the-art conference room, modern furniture, televisions and game stations.
"This is the center of the universe as far as we're concerned," said Alan Hall, chairman of WSU's board of trustees. "This center will represent the future of economic growth (for the city and the university)."
Earlier this year, the Governor's Office of Economic Development announced it would be giving the program a one-time $100,000 economic opportunity grant that would be added to the more than $2 million in funding provided by Weber State Ogden City and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration.
The EDA's contribution came in June, of 2012 in the form of a $1 million grant.
In February of this year, the Ogden city council approved a resolution that provided an additional $100,000 in funding for the facility.
WSU contributed more than $1.5 million to tenant improvements at the site.
Mayor Mike Caldwell said the facility is expected to create 750 jobs and generate up to $4.6 million in private investment over 10 years.
The general public can use the facility by buying memberships that are renewed on a month-by-month basis. A fee of $50 per month provides access to the building; $75 per month provides access and dedicated working space; and $99 per month provides access, dedicated working space and use of the showers and lockers at the facility.
Alex Lawrence, vice provost of Innovation and Economic Development at WSU, said users of the facility will be the ones to make it thrive.
"This place was built debt-free and there won't be any ongoing funding needed to keep this building open," he said. "It will be totally community supported."
WSU -- formerly known by names like the Weber Stake Academy, Weber Academy, Weber Normal College and Weber College -- had campus facilities in downtown Ogden until 1951, when the school moved to its current location along Ogden's southeast bench.
"We're finally back" said WSU President Chuck Wight. "This facility is symbolic of what can happen when a city and a university work together."
For more information, visit weber.edu/downtown.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.