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Weber State planning to build permanent ‘Flaming W’ on side of Mount Ogden

By Rob Nielsen - | Apr 5, 2024

Photo supplied, Weber State University

The W is lit above Weber State University on April 24, 2020, in honor of the class of 2020. Plans are in motion to build a permanent W fixture on the side of Mount Ogden.

OGDEN — A symbol of Weber State University school spirit is set to get a permanent place on the side of Mount Ogden.

In a press release Wednesday, WSU announced that a permanent and modern “Flaming W” will be built on the mountainside.

“Situated on a slope above the Ogden campus, the new ‘Flaming W’ — a reference to the stylized W within the university shield — will be constructed with solar panels,” the release said. “The W will light up with purple and white bulbs to celebrate special WSU occasions such as homecoming, commencement, Founders Day on Jan. 7, and athletic home wins.”

The release adds that the first iteration of the W was constructed in 1937 and consisted of 100 cans of kerosene. A temporary electric version has been erected several times on the side of the mountain since 1979.

Bryan Magaña, public relations director at WSU, told the Standard-Examiner that there have been several attempts at erecting a permanent “Flaming W” fixture.

“There have been many grassroots movements throughout the years to get a permanent ‘W’ on the mountain, usually led by students and community members,” he said. “This has been a collective dream for the past few decades, so it’s always great when you see a dream finally becoming reality.”

He added that a modern focus helped get the ball rolling on a serious project.

“What made the conversations different this time was the tie to sustainability, being able to give our community what they’ve been asking for in a way that gives back,” he said. “The new concept is much grander than past visions for the ‘W,’ and it’s something we can be proud of.”

Magaña said the project is estimated at around $1.2 million, with the majority of that already raised, but costs could rise due to the nature of the project.

“As we’ve worked through the design, we’re anticipating those costs could rise due to the challenges of securing the ‘W’ on a steep, rocky slope,” he said. “It’s a complicated process and we need to get it right.”

He said WSU is currently fundraising for the remaining $500,000 needed for the project.

“Cost savings from the solar panels, plus funds from private donors, will help pay for most of the project, and we see our fundraising efforts for the remaining $500,000 as a way to get supporters involved with the project they’ve been asking for,” he said. “We’re already seeing a lot of enthusiasm for the ‘W,’ particularly among alumni.”

Magaña said the structure will be a boost to the school.

“This ‘W’ is a visual reminder of the brilliance of our Weber State community, and it’s going to inspire a sense of pride for generations to come,” he said.

The release said the goal is to have the permanent “W” in place by WSU’s homecoming in October.

For more information and to donate, visit http://give.weber.edu/light-the-w-gifts.


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