Weber State vs. South Dakota 02

Weber State freshmen Ashley Fowers, left, and McKay Harms turn soil with commemorative mini shovels as Weber State University officially broke ground on a new athletics building Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

OGDEN — As fans filed in to Stewart Stadium on Saturday, they had a chance to turn some dirt with mini shovels as part of a groundbreaking event for a new athletics facility being added to the venue.

The act was part of an attempt to break a world record for most people to participate in a ground breaking event and fans got to take home their own commemorative mini shovels.

While the crowd was a reported 8,455 fans, many did not participate in turning dirt and the school suspects it fell short of the ground-breaking mark of 6,256.

Top donors, head football coach Jay Hill and interim school president Norm Tarbox also turned normal-sized shovels to officially break ground before the game.

Tarbox said the project will cross $16 million and is the largest such project, monetarily, in school history.

Money was raised from private donors and former players. When the project was originally announced, the school said the donation goal was $7 million. Tarbox also said the NCAA issued a $700,000 grant for academic spaces in the facility.

The new building will house strength and conditioning facilities and a 125-seat team meeting room for use by all Weber State athletes. It will also contain new football locker rooms, coaches offices and an equipment room, while also creating a new main stadium entrance, ticket office, souvenir shop and stadium plaza. It will open ahead of the 2019 football season.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net, follow him on Twitter @bhein3 and at facebook.com/brettheinwrites.

Brett Hein is the sports editor and covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner.

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