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This rendering shows a view from the parking lot looking south to the entrance of Stewart Stadium after Weber State completes construction of a multi-use athletics complex there, breaking ground August 2018 and set to open by the 2019 football season.

OGDEN — When Weber State hosts South Dakota on Saturday, it not only marks the home opener for the Wildcats but features a unique ceremony and gives fans a chance to participate in an attempt at a world record.

Weber State will break ground on a new football and multi-use facility at Stewart Stadium, a building that will sit in the space between the stadium’s track and parking lot beyond the north end zone, adjoining with the west grandstand and curving around the track.

A groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and all fans are encouraged to participate. The school is attempting to set a world record for "most people taking part in a ground breaking ceremony." The first 6,500 fans to participate receive commemorative mini-shovel.

The world record for such an event, according to the Guinness World Records website, is 6,256 people — a similar attempt in 2012 when the MLS soccer team San Jose Earthquakes broke ground on a new stadium.

For comparison, 2017's home playoff game — that season's best draw in actual attendance — drew 6,876 fans. So a similar show of support and ceremony participation is needed to break the world record.

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.

TAILGATE & FAN FEST

Weber State home games feature a rarity in college sports: a free, family friendly pre-game tailgate and fan fest, located in the parking lot north of the stadium and beginning two hours before kickoff.

The event includes free hot dogs and burgers for all fans and free soda and pizza for students, games, face painting, inflatable bounce house and slide, a TV tent showing other college football games, music and other sponsor tents.

BLACKOUT

Saturday is also WSU's annual blackout game. Fans are encouraged to wear black and the first 3,000 will receive a free black T-shirt.

GAMEDAY TIMELINE

4 p.m. — Tailgate/Fan Fest begins

4:30 p.m. — Gates open

5 p.m. — Groundbreaking ceremony

6 p.m. — Kickoff

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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