OGDEN — An addition to Stewart Stadium first announced in October 2016 is now much closer to reality, and the department hopes the building will transform Weber State athletics.
Construction will begin Aug. 28 on a 27,000-square-foot, multi-use 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.
The 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.
“This building is transformational to our program,” Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee said in a statement. “Over the last 10 years we have made great strides in improving the athletic and academic facilities for our student-athletes, and this is a capstone project that will assist in the development of not only the football program but all of our 16 sports.”
It’s a new design from the original announcement. Renderings show a more modern entrance design and the addition of a second video board. The project is expected to be complete in time for the 2019 football season.
The school says the project was funded by donations from community members and former athletes. The school did not provide information about construction costs with the most current announcement but, in 2016, Bovee told the Standard-Examiner the fundraising goal was $7 million.
Fans can attend a public groundbreaking ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, one hour before Weber State kicks off its home-opener against South Dakota.
Colton Swan, Weber State’s linebackers and special teams coach, played football for the Wildcats from 1999-2003 and has been on the football staff for all 15 years since, playing or coaching with five head coaches.
“Just the change in the facilities and where we’ve come as a program is astronomical,” Swan said. “I can’t believe where we’re at as far as all that goes. Right now, every kid’s believing in what we’re doing. The recruits, the coaches are believing in it. It’s a fun thing to be around.”
The new building will include the Barbara and Rory Youngberg Football Center, the Sark’s Boys Gateway, the Stromberg Strength and Conditioning Complex, the Marquardt-Kimball Plaza and the Behnken Plaza.
The Sark’s Boys Gateway creates the new entrance and is named after former head football coach Sark Arslanian, who led the Wildcats from the late ‘60s to early ‘70s.
“This building demonstrates to recruits, players, coaches, and staff the commitment Weber State University has to its student-athletes,” head football coach Jay Hill said in a statement. “This new facility is critical for our program’s progress moving forward ... It is fundamental for recruiting and the future development of our players.”