Reconstruction of east side at Weber State’s Stewart Stadium includes new look, fields, track
Images supplied, Weber State University
OGDEN — Over the space of four years, Weber State University’s Stewart Stadium will become nearly brand new after the completion of several projects.
The latest work at the home of WSU’s football and track programs is well underway: the entire east side of the stadium is now dug up and gone and will be entirely reconstructed, followed by the installation of new a football field and a new track.
The artificial turf practice field on the lower, west part of campus will also be replaced.
That east side was more than 60 years old and believed to have been the oldest remaining original structure at Weber State. The school’s main Ogden campus has welcomed a significant number of new buildings in the last 15 years.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the replacement of the east side bleachers, the track, the playing surface and the replacement of our practice surface down on lower campus. Those things have served us well but it’s time to be replaced,” WSU athletic director Tim Crompton said. “I know our student-athletes and the campus in general, and when the community sees it, will be excited about it.”
Photo supplied, Weber State University
This reconstruction follows the completion of the Youngberg Football Center at the north end of the stadium ahead of the 2019 season. There, the football team got a new locker room, team meeting rooms and coaches offices. A new weight room there is shared by the football and track programs, and the track team’s locker room situation improved with the old football locker room vacated by the football team.
Over the years, the east side of the stadium — concrete poured into the side of the hill with bleachers where fans sit — developed a story: the ground beneath the structure has been slowly sinking for years, decades even.
While true, the severity of that situation may have grown into an overblown urban legend. Nothing particularly notable was revealed when the concrete was ripped off the hill (along with the old, small pressbox that sat at the top) as the calendar turned to 2023. But either way, it was time to replace it and build something new.
Conceptual graphic renderings of the new-and-improved east side stadium structure are not yet available. But construction plans are set and work is ongoing to prepare the stadium for the 2023 football season opener.
The new build will have a support substructure and a different layout. A concourse and walkway will run lengthwise across the middle of the east side, allowing space for concessions and easier movement for fans between two tiers of bleacher seating.
Image supplied, Weber State University
That will result in somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 fewer seats on that side, taking Stewart Stadium’s capacity to somewhere around 15,000.
“That allows us to provide a better service from a concessions standpoint than we do now … we lose the seats but what we gain is better,” Crompton said.
The entire structure will sit a little higher than the old one did, which may provide an improvement to sight lines for fans. The bathroom building atop the stadium will remain.
Overall, it’s not a drastic change but will be new with better usability.
“For fans, it will just be new and nice,” Crompton said. “Replacing the track and the field are the most applicable for our athletes.”
The stadium’s track and football field were last replaced in 2011 when the field was converted from grass to an artificial surface.
“The process of how fields and tracks are made are better now. That’s exciting for the kids,” Crompton said.
Both surfaces will be installed by the company FieldTurf. Crompton said the football field type the university selected is the best quality available. That’s likely to be a drastic change from the current field that got every possible day of use (perhaps overuse) out of it. The recommended maximum life of such football surfaces is 10 years, according to FieldTurf’s website.
The field will feature purple end zones and the cat head part of the primary logo at midfield.
The replacement of the lower-campus practice field — even older than the stadium surfaces — will bring lots of benefits, too. That field can be better used by club and intramural programs, the band and several athletic teams. That may include increased use by the football team, which would then prolong the life and quality of the stadium turf.
The upcoming outdoor track and field season will obviously be disrupted. WSU’s one home meet, usually hosted in combination with the University of Utah, will at least not be able to host any running events this spring. Some sprinters and jumpers will be able to use parts of the stadium this spring for practice and Ogden High’s newer track will host some workouts for the Wildcats, too.
The football team is expected to use Stewart Stadium for spring ball, after which construction will hit high gear, Crompton said.