OGDEN — The Stadium House for Student-Athlete Success has opened on the campus of Weber State University, and is now available for Wildcat athletes to use as a one-stop shop to further their education.

“This is now a home base for all things academic,” said Athletics Director Jerry Bovee. “The tutors will be based here, the academic advisors are all officed and based here in one place. We also have some lounge areas where they can come and hang out.”

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The 4,000 square foot building located just south of Stewart Stadium features a computer lab, private rooms for small group study, balcony, lounges and a multipurpose room on the ground floor.

“It shows a commitment to what we really want to do in the classroom and toward their well-being,” Bovee said. “I don’t think most people realize the demands that are on a student-athlete’s schedule. Having a place where they’re dedicated to having a spot to get their work done in the time they have to do it will be the biggest benefit for this space for them.”

Bovee said those that may question the practicality of such a facility don’t fully understand the needs of student-athletes and their time-demanding schedules.

“I think most people are shocked when they actually look at the demands on a student-athlete’s time,” he said. “They need to get with academic advisors, tutors, then they’re in class. When they’re in season, you’ve got weightlifting, team meetings, film sessions, then you’re in practice for your time frames. After that, you’re back in study hall for two to three hours a night, you’re in bed and then it’s Groundhog Day. You’re doing the same thing again. You throw travel in the mix and the lifestyle is pretty hectic.”

According to Weber State Vice President Norm Tarbox, the facility cost $1.5 million to construct with at least half coming from donated money. The university hopes to have the entire cost of the building funded through donations.

“Our ultimate goal is to bring in a donor to put their name on it,” Bovee said, “Our ultimate goal is to have this building be all fundraised dollars. I don’t forsee any issues with that as we go forward. It’s another opportunity for our donors to be part of what we’re doing in building the infrastructure.”

Tarbox is confident Bovee will be able to raise the remaining balance within the next year, but feels justified using institutional money to cover the amount owed because of the academic nature of the project, should not enough donor money come through.

Athletes have already began to make use of the facility and have quickly found an appreciation for the new resource.

“Before there were only certain hours that we could come in to the other facility for study hall, but here we have more time to come in and study,” said football player Arnold Lopez. “That fits our schedule, and that’s the biggest thing I like about this building.”

For junior cornerback Alphonso Marsh, having several resources in one central location makes all the difference.

“It means a lot. Before this building, it was kind of hard because we were on top of the stadium and everything was spaced out and we were all piling up together,” he said. “I love the location. I love that everything’s together. The counselors, the computers, then we can go downstairs — it makes us feel like we’re at home.”

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside, and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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